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G.R. No.

122039 May 31, 2000 The lower court rendered judgment against Salva as
third-party defendant and absolved Calalas of liability,
VICENTE CALALAS, petitioner, holding that it was the driver of the Isuzu truck who
vs. was responsible for the accident. It took cognizance of
COURT OF APPEALS, ELIZA JUJEURCHE SUNGA another case (Civil Case No. 3490), filed by Calalas
and FRANCISCO SALVA, respondents. against Salva and Verena, for quasi-delict, in which
Branch 37 of the same court held Salva and his driver
Verena jointly liable to Calalas for the damage to his
jeepney.
MENDOZA, J.:
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the ruling of the
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the lower court was reversed on the ground that Sunga's
decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 31,
1 cause of action was based on a contract of carriage,
1991, reversing the contrary decision of the Regional not quasi-delict, and that the common carrier failed to
Trial Court, Branch 36, Dumaguete City, and awarding exercise the diligence required under the Civil Code.
damages instead to private respondent Eliza The appellate court dismissed the third-party
Jujeurche Sunga as plaintiff in an action for breach of complaint against Salva and adjudged Calalas liable
contract of carriage. for damages to Sunga. The dispositive portion of its
decision reads:
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as
follows: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another one is
At 10 o'clock in the morning of August 23, 1989, entered ordering defendant-appellee Vicente Calalas
private respondent Eliza Jujeurche G. Sunga, then a to pay plaintiff-appellant:
college freshman majoring in Physical Education at
the Siliman University, took a passenger jeepney (1) P50,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages;
owned and operated by petitioner Vicente Calalas. As
the jeepney was filled to capacity of about 24 (2) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
passengers, Sunga was given by the conductor an
"extension seat," a wooden stool at the back of the (3) P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
door at the rear end of the vehicle.
(4) P1,000.00 as expenses of litigation; and
On the way to Poblacion Sibulan, Negros Occidental,
the jeepney stopped to let a passenger off. As she (5) to pay the costs.
was seated at the rear of the vehicle, Sunga gave way
to the outgoing passenger. Just as she was doing so, SO ORDERED.
an Isuzu truck driven by Iglecerio Verena and owned
by Francisco Salva bumped the left rear portion of the Hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that the ruling
jeepney. As a result, Sunga was injured. She in Civil Case No. 3490 that the negligence of Verena
sustained a fracture of the "distal third of the left was the proximate cause of the accident negates his
tibia-fibula with severe necrosis of the underlying liability and that to rule otherwise would be to make
skin." Closed reduction of the fracture, long leg the common carrier an insurer of the safety of its
circular casting, and case wedging were done under passengers. He contends that the bumping of the
sedation. Her confinement in the hospital lasted from jeepney by the truck owned by Salva was a caso
August 23 to September 7, 1989. Her attending fortuito. Petitioner further assails the award of moral
physician, Dr. Danilo V. Oligario, an orthopedic damages to Sunga on the ground that it is not
surgeon, certified she would remain on a cast for a supported by evidence.
period of three months and would have to ambulate in
crutches during said period. The petition has no merit.

On October 9, 1989, Sunga filed a complaint for The argument that Sunga is bound by the ruling in
damages against Calalas, alleging violation of the Civil Case No. 3490 finding the driver and the owner
contract of carriage by the former in failing to exercise of the truck liable for quasi-delict ignores the fact that
the diligence required of him as a common carrier. she was never a party to that case and, therefore, the
Calalas, on the other hand, filed a third-party principle of res judicata does not apply.
complaint against Francisco Salva, the owner of the
Isuzu truck. Nor are the issues in Civil Case No. 3490 and in the
present case the same. The issue in Civil Case No.
3490 was whether Salva and his driver Verena were diligence for the safety of the passengers is further set
liable for quasi-delict for the damage caused to forth in articles 1755 and 1756.
petitioner's jeepney. On the other hand, the issue in
this case is whether petitioner is liable on his contract Art. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the
of carriage. The first, quasi-delict, also known as culpa passengers safely as far as human care and foresight
aquiliana or culpa extra contractual, has as its source can provide, using the utmost diligence of very
the negligence of the tortfeasor. The second, breach cautious persons, with due regard for all the
of contract or culpa contractual, is premised upon the circumstances.
negligence in the performance of a contractual
obligation. Art. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers,
common carriers are presumed to have been at fault
Consequently, in quasi-delict, the negligence or fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that
should be clearly established because it is the basis of they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed
the action, whereas in breach of contract, the action by articles 1733 and 1755.
can be prosecuted merely by proving the existence of
the contract and the fact that the obligor, in this case In the case at bar, upon the happening of the accident,
the common carrier, failed to transport his passenger the presumption of negligence at once arose, and it
safely to his destination. In case of death or injuries to
2
became the duty of petitioner to prove that he had to
passengers, Art. 1756 of the Civil Code provides that observe extraordinary diligence in the care of his
common carriers are presumed to have been at fault passengers.
or to have acted negligently unless they prove that
they observed extraordinary diligence as defined in Now, did the driver of jeepney carry Sunga "safely as
Arts. 1733 and 1755 of the Code. This provision far as human care and foresight could provide, using
necessarily shifts to the common carrier the burden of the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with
proof. due regard for all the circumstances" as required by
Art. 1755? We do not think so. Several factors militate
There is, thus, no basis for the contention that the against petitioner's contention.
ruling in Civil Case No. 3490, finding Salva and his
driver Verena liable for the damage to petitioner's First, as found by the Court of Appeals, the jeepney
jeepney, should be binding on Sunga. It is immaterial was not properly parked, its rear portion being
that the proximate cause of the collision between the exposed about two meters from the broad shoulders
jeepney and the truck was the negligence of the truck of the highway, and facing the middle of the highway
driver. The doctrine of proximate cause is applicable in a diagonal angle. This is a violation of the R.A. No.
only in actions for quasi-delict, not in actions involving 4136, as amended, or the Land Transportation and
breach of contract. The doctrine is a device for Traffic Code, which provides:
imputing liability to a person where there is no relation
between him and another party. In such a case, the Sec. 54. Obstruction of Traffic. — No person shall
obligation is created by law itself. But, where there is a drive his motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct
pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, it or impede the passage of any vehicle, nor, while
is the parties themselves who create the obligation, discharging or taking on passengers or loading or
and the function of the law is merely to regulate the unloading freight, obstruct the free passage of other
relation thus created. Insofar as contracts of carriage vehicles on the highway.
are concerned, some aspects regulated by the Civil
Code are those respecting the diligence required of Second, it is undisputed that petitioner's driver took in
common carriers with regard to the safety of more passengers than the allowed seating capacity of
passengers as well as the presumption of negligence the jeepney, a violation of §32(a) of the same law. It
in cases of death or injury to passengers. It provides: provides:

Art. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their Exceeding registered capacity. — No person
business and for reasons of public policy, are bound operating any motor vehicle shall allow more
to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance passengers or more freight or cargo in his vehicle than
over the goods and for the safety of the passengers its registered capacity.
transported by them, according to all the
circumstances of each case.
The fact that Sunga was seated in an "extension seat"
placed her in a peril greater than that to which the
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the other passengers were exposed. Therefore, not only
goods is further expressed in articles 1734, 1735, and was petitioner unable to overcome the presumption of
1746, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary negligence imposed on him for the injury sustained by
Sunga, but also, the evidence shows he was actually As a general rule, moral damages are not recoverable
negligent in transporting passengers. in actions for damages predicated on a breach of
contract for it is not one of the items enumerated
We find it hard to give serious thought to petitioner's under Art. 2219 of the Civil Code. As an exception,
5

contention that Sunga's taking an "extension seat" such damages are recoverable: (1) in cases in which
amounted to an implied assumption of risk. It is akin to the mishap results in the death of a passenger, as
arguing that the injuries to the many victims of the provided in Art. 1764, in relation to Art. 2206(3) of the
tragedies in our seas should not be compensated Civil Code; and (2) in the cases in which the carrier is
merely because those passengers assumed a greater guilty of fraud or bad faith, as provided in Art. 2220.
6

risk of drowning by boarding an overloaded ferry. This


is also true of petitioner's contention that the jeepney In this case, there is no legal basis for awarding moral
being bumped while it was improperly parked damages since there was no factual finding by the
constitutes caso fortuito. A caso fortuito is an event appellate court that petitioner acted in bad faith in the
which could not be foreseen, or which, though performance of the contract of carriage. Sunga's
foreseen, was inevitable. This requires that the
3
contention that petitioner's admission in open court
following requirements be present: (a) the cause of that the driver of the jeepney failed to assist her in
the breach is independent of the debtor's will; (b) the going to a nearby hospital cannot be construed as an
event is unforeseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event is admission of bad faith. The fact that it was the driver
such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill of the Isuzu truck who took her to the hospital does
his obligation in a normal manner, and (d) the debtor not imply that petitioner was utterly indifferent to the
did not take part in causing the injury to the plight of his injured passenger. If at all, it is merely
creditor. Petitioner should have foreseen the danger
4
implied recognition by Verena that he was the one at
of parking his jeepney with its body protruding two fault for the accident.
meters into the highway.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals,
Finally, petitioner challenges the award of moral dated March 31, 1995, and its resolution, dated
damages alleging that it is excessive and without September 11, 1995, are AFFIRMED, with the
basis in law. We find this contention well taken. MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is
DELETED.
In awarding moral damages, the Court of Appeals
stated: SO ORDERED.

Plaintiff-appellant at the time of the accident was a


first-year college student in that school year
1989-1990 at the Silliman University, majoring in
Physical Education. Because of the injury, she was
not able to enroll in the second semester of that G.R. No. 164349 January 31, 2006
school year. She testified that she had no more
intention of continuing with her schooling, because RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
she could not walk and decided not to pursue her INC. (RCPI),Petitioner,
degree, major in Physical Education "because of my vs.
leg which has a defect already." ALFONSO VERCHEZ, GRACE VERCHEZ-INFANTE,
MARDONIO INFANTE, ZENAIDA
Plaintiff-appellant likewise testified that even while she VERCHEZ-CATIBOG, AND FORTUNATO
was under confinement, she cried in pain because of CATIBOG, Respondents.
her injured left foot. As a result of her injury, the
Orthopedic Surgeon also certified that she has DECISION
"residual bowing of the fracture side." She likewise
decided not to further pursue Physical Education as CARPIO MORALES, J.:
her major subject, because "my left leg . . . has a
defect already." On January 21, 1991, Editha Hebron Verchez (Editha)
was confined at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital due
Those are her physical pains and moral sufferings, the to an ailment. On even date, her daughter Grace
inevitable bedfellows of the injuries that she suffered. Verchez-Infante (Grace) immediately hied to the
Under Article 2219 of the Civil Code, she is entitled to Sorsogon Branch of the Radio Communications of the
recover moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00, Philippines, Inc. (RCPI) whose services she engaged
which is fair, just and reasonable. to send a telegram to her sister Zenaida
Verchez-Catibog (Zenaida) who was residing at 18
Legal St., GSIS Village, Quezon City1 reading: "Send conference on a specified date and time, but no
check money Mommy hospital." For RCPI’s services, representative of RCPI showed up at said date and
Grace paid P10.502 for which she was issued a time.
receipt.3
On April 17, 1992, Editha died.
As three days after RCPI was engaged to send the
telegram to Zenaida no response was received from On September 8, 1993, Verchez, along with his
her, Grace sent a letter to Zenaida, this time thru JRS daughters Grace and Zenaida and their respective
Delivery Service, reprimanding her for not sending spouses, filed a complaint against RCPI before the
any financial aid. Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Sorsogon for damages.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that, inter alia,
Immediately after she received Grace’s letter, Zenaida, the delay in delivering the telegram contributed to the
along with her husband Fortunato Catibog, left on early demise of the late Editha to their damage and
January 26, 1991 for Sorsogon. On her arrival at prejudice,8 for which they prayed for the award of
Sorsogon, she disclaimed having received any moral and exemplary damages9 and attorney’s fees.10
telegram.
After its motion to dismiss the complaint for improper
In the meantime, Zenaida and her husband, together venue11 was denied12 by Branch 5 of the RTC of
with her mother Editha left for Quezon City on January Sorsogon, RCPI filed its answer, alleging that except
28, 1991 and brought Editha to the Veterans Memorial with respect to Grace,13 the other plaintiffs had no
Hospital in Quezon City where she was confined from privity of contract with it; any delay in the sending of
January 30, 1991 to March 21, 1991. the telegram was due to force majeure, "specifically,
but not limited to, radio noise and interferences which
The telegram was finally delivered to Zenaida 25 days adversely affected the transmission and/or reception
later or on February 15, 1991.4 On inquiry from RCPI of the telegraphic message";14 the clause in the
why it took that long to deliver it, a messenger of RCPI Telegram Transmission Form signed by Grace
replied that he had nothing to do with the delivery absolved it from liability for any damage arising from
thereof as it was another messenger who previously the transmission other than the refund of telegram
was assigned to deliver the same but the address tolls;15 it observed due diligence in the selection and
could not be located, hence, the telegram was resent supervision of its employees; and at all events, any
on February 2, 1991, and the second messenger cause of action had been barred by laches.16
finally found the address on February 15, 1991.
The trial court, observing that "although the delayed
Editha’s husband Alfonso Verchez (Verchez), by letter delivery of the questioned telegram was not
of March 5, 1991,5 demanded an explanation from the apparently the proximate cause of the death of
manager of the Service Quality Control Department of Editha," ruled out the presence of force majeure.
the RCPI, Mrs. Lorna D. Fabian, who replied, by letter Respecting the clause in the telegram relied upon by
of March 13, 1991,6 as follows: RCPI, the trial court held that it partakes of the nature
of a contract of adhesion.
Our investigation on this matter disclosed that subject
telegram was duly processed in accordance with our Finding that the nature of RCPI’s business obligated it
standard operating procedure. However, delivery was to dispatch the telegram to the addressee at the
not immediately effected due to the occurrence of earliest possible time but that it did not in view of the
circumstances which were beyond the control and negligence of its employees to repair its radio
foresight of RCPI. Among others, during the transmitter and the concomitant delay in delivering the
transmission process, the radio link connecting the telegram on time, the trial court, upon the following
points of communication involved encountered radio provisions of the Civil Code, to wit:
noise and interferences such that subject telegram did
not initially registered (sic) in the receiving teleprinter Article 2176 – Whoever by act or omission causes
machine. damage to another, there being at fault or negligence,
is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
Our internal message monitoring led to the discovery negligence if there is no pre-existing contractual
of the above. Thus, a repeat transmission was made relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and
and subsequent delivery was effected. (Underscoring is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
supplied)
Article 1173 defines the fault of (sic) negligence of the
Verchez’s lawyer thereupon wrote RCPI’s manager obligor as the "omission of the diligence which is
Fabian, by letter of July 23, 1991,7 requesting for a required by the nature of the obligation and
corresponds with the circumstances of the person, of Those who in the performance of their obligations are
the time, or the place." guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in
any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable
In the instant case, the obligation of the defendant to for damages. (Underscoring supplied)
deliver the telegram to the addressee is of an urgent
nature. Its essence is the early delivery of the Passing on this codal provision, this Court explained:
telegram to the concerned person. Yet, due to the
negligence of its employees, the defendant failed to In culpa contractual x x x the mere proof of the
discharge of its obligation on time making it liable for existence of the contract and the failure of its
damages under Article 2176. compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right
of relief. The law, recognizing the obligatory force of
The negligence on the part of the employees gives contracts, will not permit a party to be set free from
rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of liability for any kind of misperformance of the
the employer.17 (Underscoring supplied), contractual undertaking or a contravention of the tenor
thereof. A breach upon the contract confers upon the
rendered judgment against RCPI. Accordingly, it injured party a valid cause for recovering that which
disposed: may have been lost or suffered. The remedy serves to
preserve the interests of the promissee that may
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, include his "expectation interest," which is his
judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs interest in having the benefit of his bargain by being
and against the defendant, to wit: put in as good a position as he would have been in
had the contract been performed, or his "reliance
Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the interest," which is his interest in being reimbursed for
following amount: loss caused by reliance on the contract by being put in
as good a position as he would have been in had the
1. The amount of One Hundred Thousand contract not been made; or his "restitution
(P100,000.00) Pesos as moral damages; interest," which is his interest in having restored to
him any benefit that he has conferred on the other
2. The amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) party. Indeed, agreements can accomplish little, either
Pesos as attorney’s fees; and for their makers or for society, unless they are made
the basis for action. The effect of every infraction is to
create a new duty, that is, to make recompense to the
3. To pay the costs.
one who has been injured by the failure of another to
observe his contractual obligation unless he can show
SO ORDERED.18
extenuating circumstances, like proof of his exercise
of due diligence x x x or of the attendance of
On appeal, the Court of Appeals, by Decision of fortuitous event, to excuse him from his ensuing
February 27, 2004,19 affirmed the trial court’s decision. liability.23 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Hence, RCPI’s present petition for review on certiorari, In the case at bar, RCPI bound itself to deliver the
it raising the following questions: (1) "Is the award of telegram within the shortest possible time. It took 25
moral damages proper even if the trial court found that days, however, for RCPI to deliver it.
there was no direct connection between the injury and
the alleged negligent acts?"20 and (2) "Are the
RCPI invokes force majeure, specifically, the alleged
stipulations in the ‘Telegram Transmission Form,’ in
radio noise and interferences which adversely
the nature "contracts of adhesion" (sic)?21
affected the transmission and/or reception of the
telegraphic message. Additionally, its messenger
RCPI insists that respondents failed to prove any claimed he could not locate the address of Zenaida
causal connection between its delay in transmitting
and it was only on the third attempt that he was able to
the telegram and Editha’s death.22 deliver the telegram.

RCPI’s stand fails. It bears noting that its liability is For the defense of force majeure to prosper,
anchored on culpa contractual or breach of contract
with regard to Grace, and on tort with regard to her
x x x it is necessary that one has
co-plaintiffs-herein-co-respondents.
committed no negligence or misconduct that may
have occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be
Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides: invoked to protect a person who has failed to take
steps to forestall the possible adverse consequences
of such a loss. One’s negligence may have concurred RCPI argues, however, against the presence of
with an act of God in producing damage and injury to urgency in the delivery of the telegram, as well as the
another; nonetheless, showing that the immediate or basis for the award of moral damages, thus:27
proximate cause of the damage or injury was a
fortuitous event would not exempt one from The request to send check as written in the
liability. When the effect is found to be partly the telegraphic text negates the existence of urgency that
result of a person’s participation – whether by private respondents’ allegations that ‘time was of the
active intervention, neglect or failure to act – the essence’ imports. A check drawn against a Manila
whole occurrence is humanized and removed Bank and transmitted to Sorsogon, Sorsogon will have
from the rules applicable to acts of God. to be deposited in a bank in Sorsogon and pass thru a
minimum clearing period of 5 days before it may be
xxxx encashed or withdrawn. If the transmittal of the
requested check to Sorsogon took 1 day – private
Article 1174 of the Civil Code states that no person respondents could therefore still wait for 6 days before
shall be responsible for a fortuitous event that could the same may be withdrawn. Requesting a check that
not be foreseen or, though foreseen, was would take 6 days before it could be withdrawn
inevitable. In other words, there must be an therefore contradicts plaintiff’s claim of urgency or
exclusion of human intervention from the cause of need.28
injury or loss.24 (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied) At any rate, any sense of urgency of the situation was
met when Grace Verchez was able to communicate to
Assuming arguendo that fortuitous circumstances Manila via a letter that she sent to the same
prevented RCPI from delivering the telegram at the addressee in Manila thru JRS.29
soonest possible time, it should have at least informed
Grace of the non-transmission and the non-delivery so xxxx
that she could have taken steps to remedy the
situation. But it did not. There lies the fault or As far as the respondent court’s award for moral
negligence. damages is concerned, the same has no
basis whatsoever since private respondent Alfonso
In an earlier case also involving RCPI, this Court held: Verchez did not accompany his late wife when the
latter went to Manila by bus. He stayed behind in
Considering the public utility of RCPI’s business and Sorsogon for almost 1 week before he proceeded to
its contractual obligation to transmit messages, it Manila. 30
should exercise due diligence to ascertain that
messages are delivered to the persons at the given When pressed on cross-examination, private
address and should provide a system whereby in respondent Alfonso Verchez could not give any
cases of undelivered messages the sender is given plausible reason as to the reason why he did not
notice of non-delivery. Messages sent accompany his ailing wife to Manila.31
by cable or wireless means are usually more
important and urgent than those which can wait for xxxx
the mail.25
It is also important to consider in resolving private
xxxx respondents’ claim for moral damages that
private respondent Grace Verchez did not accompany
People depend on telecommunications companies her ailing mother to Manila.32
in times of deep emotional stress or pressing
financial needs. Knowing that messages about the xxxx
illnesses or deaths of loved ones, births or marriages
in a family, important business transactions, and It is the common reaction of a husband to be at his
notices of conferences or meetings as in this case, are ailing wife’s side as much as possible. The fact that
coursed through the petitioner and similar private respondent Alfonso Verchez stayed behind in
corporations, it is incumbent upon them to exercise a Sorsogon for almost 1 week convincingly
greater amount of care and concern than that shown demonstrates that he himself knew that his wife was
in this case. Every reasonable effort to inform senders not in critical condition.33
of the non-delivery of messages should be
undertaken.26 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)


RCPI’s arguments fail. For it is its breach of contract x x x firstly, evidence of besmirched reputation or
upon which its liability is, it bears repeating, anchored. physical, mental or psychological suffering sustained
Since RCPI breached its contract, the presumption is by the claimant; secondly, a culpable act or omission
that it was at fault or negligent. It, however, failed to factually established; thirdly, proof that the wrongful
rebut this presumption. act or omission of the defendant is the proximate
cause of damages sustained by the claimant;
For breach of contract then, RCPI is liable to Grace for and fourthly, that the case is predicated on any of the
damages. instances expressed or envisioned by Article 2219
and Article 2220 of the Civil Code.34
And for quasi-delict, RCPI is liable to Grace’s
co-respondents following Article 2176 of the Civil Respecting the first requisite, evidence of suffering by
Code which provides: the plaintiffs-herein respondents was correctly
appreciated by the CA in this wise:
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to The failure of RCPI to deliver the telegram containing
pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if the message of appellees on time, disturbed their filial
there is no pre-existing contractual relation between tranquillity. Family members blamed each other for
the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by failing to respond swiftly to an emergency that
the provisions of this Chapter. (Underscoring involved the life of the late Mrs. Verchez, who suffered
supplied) from diabetes.35

RCPI’s liability as an employer could of course be As reflected in the foregoing discussions, the second
avoided if it could prove that it observed the diligence and third requisites are present.
of a good father of a family to prevent damage. Article
2180 of the Civil Code so provides: On the fourth requisite, Article 2220 of the Civil Code
provides:
The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable
not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also for Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for
those of persons for whom one is responsible. awarding moral damages if the court should find that,
under the circumstances, such damages are justly
xxxx due. The same rule applies to breaches of
contract where the defendant acted fraudulently
The owners and managers of an establishment or or in bad faith. (Emphasis and underscoring
enterprise are likewise responsible for damages supplied)
caused by their employees in the service of the
branches in which the latter are employed or on the After RCPI’s first attempt to deliver the telegram failed,
occasion of their functions. it did not inform Grace of the non-delivery thereof and
waited for 12 days before trying to deliver it again,
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by knowing – as it should know – that time is of the
their employees and household helpers acting within essence in the delivery of telegrams. When its second
the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the long-delayed attempt to deliver the telegram again
former are not engaged in any business or industry. failed, it, again, waited for another 12 days before
making a third attempt. Such nonchalance in
xxxx performing its urgent obligation indicates gross
negligence amounting to bad faith. The fourth
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease requisite is thus also present.
when the persons herein mentioned prove that they
observed all the diligence of a good father of a family In applying the above-quoted Article 2220, this Court
to prevent damage. (Underscoring supplied) has awarded moral damages in cases of breach of
contract where the defendant was guilty of gross
RCPI failed, however, to prove that it observed all the negligence amounting to bad faith, or in wanton
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent disregard of his contractual obligation.36
damage.
As for RCPI’s tort-based liability, Article 2219 of the
Respecting the assailed award of moral damages, a Civil Code provides:
determination of the presence of the following
requisites to justify the award is in order: Moral damages may be recovered in the following
and analogous cases:
xxxx RCPI misunderstands the nature of a contract of
adhesion. Neither the readability of the stipulations
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, nor their physical location in the contract determines
28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35. (Emphasis supplied) whether it is one of adhesion.

Article 26 of the Civil Code, in turn, provides: A contract of adhesion is defined as one in which one
of the parties imposes a ready-made form of contract,
Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, which the other party may accept or reject, but which
privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other the latter cannot modify. One party prepares the
persons. The following and similar acts, though they stipulation in the contract, while the other party merely
may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a affixes his signature or his "adhesion" thereto, giving
cause of action for damages, prevention, and other no room for negotiation and depriving the latter of
relief: the opportunity to bargain on equal
footing. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
38

xxxx
While a contract of adhesion is not necessarily void
(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life and unenforceable, since it is construed strictly
or family relations of another. (Emphasis supplied) against the party who drafted it or gave rise to any
ambiguity therein, it is stricken down as void and
RCPI’s negligence in not promptly performing its unenforceable or subversive of public policy when the
obligation undoubtedly disturbed the peace of mind weaker party is imposed upon in dealing with the
not only of Grace but also her co-respondents. As dominant bargaining party and is reduced to the
observed by the appellate court, it disrupted the "filial alternative of taking it or leaving it, completely
tranquillity" among them as they blamed each other deprived of the opportunity to bargain on equal
"for failing to respond swiftly to an emergency." The footing.39
tortious acts and/or omissions complained of in this
case are, therefore, analogous to acts mentioned This Court holds that the Court of Appeals’ finding that
under Article 26 of the Civil Code, which are among the parties’ contract is one of adhesion which is void is,
the instances of quasi-delict when courts may award given the facts and circumstances of the case, thus
moral damages under Article 2219 of the Civil Code. well-taken.

In fine, the award to the plaintiffs-herein respondents WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the
of moral damages is in order, as is the award of challenged decision of the Court of Appeals
attorney’s fees, respondents having been compelled is AFFIRMED.
to litigate to protect their rights.
Costs against petitioner.
Clutching at straws, RCPI insists that the limited
liability clause in the "Telegram Transmission Form" is SO ORDERED.
not a contract of adhesion. Thus it argues:
G.R. No. 150157 January 25, 2007
Neither can the Telegram Transmission Form be
considered a contract of adhesion as held by the MAURICIO MANLICLIC and PHILIPPINE RABBIT
respondent court. The said stipulations were BUS LINES, INC., Petitioners,
all written in bold letters right in front of the Telegram vs.
Transmission Form. As a matter of fact they were MODESTO CALAUNAN, Respondent.
beside the space where the telegram senders write
their telegraphic messages. It would have been DECISION
different if the stipulations were written at the back for
surely there is no way the sender will easily notice CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
them. The fact that the stipulations were located in a
particular space where they can easily be seen, is Assailed before Us is the decision1 of the Court of
sufficient notice to any sender (like Grace Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 which affirmed in
Verchez-Infante) where she could manifest her toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
disapproval, leave the RCPI station and avail of the Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case No. D-10086,
services of the other telegram finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic and Philippine
operators.37 (Underscoring supplied) Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBLI) solidarily liable to pay
damages and attorney’s fees to respondent Modesto
Calaunan.
The factual antecedents are as follows: 4. The extent of the injuries suffered by plaintiff
Modesto Calaunan and the existence of the medical
The vehicles involved in this case are: (1) Philippine certificate;
Rabbit Bus No. 353 with plate number CVD-478,
owned by petitioner PRBLI and driven by petitioner 5. That both vehicles were going towards the south;
Mauricio Manliclic; and (2) owner-type jeep with plate the private jeep being ahead of the bus;
number PER-290, owned by respondent Modesto
Calaunan and driven by Marcelo Mendoza. 6. That the weather was fair and the road was well
paved and straight, although there was a ditch on the
At around 6:00 to 7:00 o’clock in the morning of 12 right side where the jeep fell into.3
July 1988, respondent Calaunan, together with
Marcelo Mendoza, was on his way to Manila from When the civil case was heard, counsel for
Pangasinan on board his owner-type jeep. The respondent prayed that the transcripts of stenographic
Philippine Rabbit Bus was likewise bound for Manila notes (TSNs)4 of the testimonies of respondent
from Concepcion, Tarlac. At approximately Kilometer Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in
40 of the North Luzon Expressway in Barangay the criminal case be received in evidence in the civil
Lalangan, Plaridel, Bulacan, the two vehicles collided. case in as much as these witnesses are not available
The front right side of the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the to testify in the civil case.
rear left side of the jeep causing the latter to move to
the shoulder on the right and then fall on a ditch with Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law,
water resulting to further extensive damage. The bus respondent Calaunan, left for abroad sometime in
veered to the left and stopped 7 to 8 meters from point November, 1989 and has not returned since then.
of collision. Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said that his
brother, Fernando Ramos, left for Amman, Jordan, to
Respondent suffered minor injuries while his driver work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that her husband,
was unhurt. He was first brought for treatment to the Marcelo Mendoza, left their residence to look for a job.
Manila Central University Hospital in Kalookan City by She narrated that she thought her husband went to his
Oscar Buan, the conductor of the Philippine Rabbit hometown in Panique, Tarlac, when he did not return
Bus, and was later transferred to the Veterans after one month. She went to her husband’s
Memorial Medical Center. hometown to look for him but she was informed that
he did not go there.1awphil.net

By reason of such collision, a criminal case was filed


before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, charging The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of
petitioner Manliclic with Reckless Imprudence Branch 8, RTC, Malolos, Bulacan, the court where
Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries, Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was tried, to bring the
docketed as Crim. Case No. 684-M-89. Subsequently TSNs of the testimonies of respondent
on 2 December 1991, respondent filed a complaint for Calaunan,5 Marcelo Mendoza6 and Fernando
damages against petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI Ramos in said case, together with other documentary
7

before the RTC of Dagupan City, docketed as Civil evidence marked therein. Instead of the Branch Clerk
Case No. D-10086. The criminal case was tried ahead of Court, it was Enrique Santos Guevara, Court
of the civil case. Among those who testified in the Interpreter, who appeared before the court and
criminal case were respondent Calaunan, Marcelo identified the TSNs of the three afore-named
Mendoza and Fernando Ramos. witnesses and other pertinent documents he had
brought.8 Counsel for respondent wanted to mark
In the civil case (now before this Court), the parties other TSNs and documents from the said criminal
admitted the following: case to be adopted in the instant case, but since the
same were not brought to the trial court, counsel for
1. The parties agreed on the capacity of the parties to petitioners compromised that said TSNs and
sue and be sued as well as the venue and the documents could be offered by counsel for
identities of the vehicles involved; respondent as rebuttal evidence.

2. The identity of the drivers and the fact that they are For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus
duly licensed; conductor Oscar Buan testified. The TSN9 of the
testimony of Donato Ganiban, investigator of the
3. The date and place of the vehicular collision; PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was marked
and allowed to be adopted in the civil case on the
ground that he was already dead.
Respondent further marked, among other documents, Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed and
as rebuttal evidence, the TSNs10 of the testimonies of exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in
Donato Ganiban, Oscar Buan and petitioner Manliclic the selection and supervision of its employee,
in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89. specifically petitioner Manliclic.

The disagreement arises from the question: Who is to On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its decision in
be held liable for the collision? favor of respondent Calaunan and against petitioners
Manliclic and PRBLI. The dispositive portion of its
Respondent insists it was petitioner Manliclic who decision reads:
should be liable while the latter is resolute in saying it
was the former who caused the smash up. WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the
plaintiff and against the defendants ordering the said
The versions of the parties are summarized by the trial defendants to pay plaintiff jointly and solidarily the
court as follows: amount of P40,838.00 as actual damages for the
towing as well as the repair and the materials used for
The parties differed only on the manner the collision the repair of the jeep in question; P100,000.00 as
between the two (2) vehicles took place. According to moral damages and another P100,000.00 as
the plaintiff and his driver, the jeep was cruising at the exemplary damages and P15,000.00 as attorney’s
speed of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour on the slow lane fees, including appearance fees of the lawyer. In
of the expressway when the Philippine Rabbit Bus addition, the defendants are also to pay costs.12
overtook the jeep and in the process of overtaking the
jeep, the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear of the jeep Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of Appeal
on the left side. At the time the Philippine Rabbit Bus to the Court of Appeals.13
hit the jeep, it was about to overtake the jeep. In other
words, the Philippine Rabbit Bus was still at the back In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court of
of the jeep when the jeep was hit. Fernando Ramos Appeals, finding no reversible error in the decision of
corroborated the testimony of the plaintiff and Marcelo the trial court, affirmed it in all respects.14
Mendoza. He said that he was on another jeep
following the Philippine Rabbit Bus and the jeep of Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for
plaintiff when the incident took place. He said, the jeep review assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals.
of the plaintiff overtook them and the said jeep of the They assign as errors the following:
plaintiff was followed by the Philippine Rabbit Bus
which was running very fast. The bus also overtook I
the jeep in which he was riding. After that, he heard a
loud sound. He saw the jeep of the plaintiff swerved to THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
the right on a grassy portion of the road. The ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
Philippine Rabbit Bus stopped and they overtook the AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S
Philippine Rabbit Bus so that it could not moved (sic), QUESTIONABLE ADMISSION IN
meaning they stopped in front of the Philippine Rabbit EVIDENCE OF THE TSN’s AND
Bus. He testified that the jeep of plaintiff swerved to OTHER DOCUMENTS PRESENTED
the right because it was bumped by the Philippine IN THE CRIMINAL CASE.
Rabbit bus from behind.
II
Both Mauricio Manliclic and his driver, Oscar Buan
admitted that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
jeep in question. However, they explained that when ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
the Philippine Rabbit bus was about to go to the left AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S
lane to overtake the jeep, the latter jeep swerved to RELIANCE ON THE VERSION OF
the left because it was to overtake another jeep in THE RESPONDENT ON HOW THE
front of it. Such was their testimony before the RTC in ACCIDENT SUPPOSEDLY
Malolos in the criminal case and before this Court in OCCURRED.
the instant case. [Thus, which of the two versions of
the manner how the collision took place was correct, III
would be determinative of who between the two
drivers was negligent in the operation of their
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
respective vehicles.]11
ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S
UNFAIR DISREGARD OF HEREIN
PETITIONER PRBL’s DEFENSE OF that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to the
EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE IN criminal cases instituted against their employees.23
THE SELECTION AND
SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES. Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI was not
a party in said criminal case, the testimonies of the
IV three witnesses are still admissible on the ground that
petitioner PRBLI failed to object on their admissibility.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S time when an alleged inadmissible document is
QUESTIONABLE AWARD OF offered in evidence; otherwise, the objection shall be
DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEE. treated as waived, since the right to object is merely a
privilege which the party may waive. Thus, a failure to
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan during except to the evidence because it does not conform to
the pendency of this appeal with this Court, we the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law.
granted the Motion for the Substitution of Respondent Even assuming ex gratia argumenti that these
filed by his wife, Mrs. Precila Zarate Vda. De documents are inadmissible for being hearsay, but on
Calaunan, and children, Virgilio Calaunan, Carmelita account of failure to object thereto, the same may be
Honeycomb, Evelyn Calaunan, Marko Calaunan and admitted and considered as sufficient to prove the
Liwayway Calaunan.15 facts therein asserted.24 Hearsay evidence alone may
be insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no
In their Reply to respondent’s Comment, petitioners objection is made thereto, it is, like any other evidence,
informed this Court of a Decision16 of the Court of to be considered and given the importance it
Appeals acquitting petitioner Manliclic of the deserves.25
charge17 of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Damage to Property with Physical Injuries attaching In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not object to
thereto a photocopy thereof. the TSNs containing the testimonies of respondent
Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in
On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that the the criminal case when the same were offered in
TSNs containing the testimonies of respondent evidence in the trial court. In fact, the TSNs of the
Calaunan,18Marcelo Mendoza19 and Fernando testimonies of Calaunan and Mendoza were admitted
Ramos should not be admitted in evidence for failure
20 by both petitioners.26 Moreover, petitioner PRBLI even
of respondent to comply with the requisites of Section offered in evidence the TSN containing the testimony
47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. of Donato Ganiban in the criminal case. If petitioner
PRBLI argues that the TSNs of the testimonies of
For Section 47, Rule 13021 to apply, the following plaintiff’s witnesses in the criminal case should not be
requisites must be satisfied: (a) the witness is dead or admitted in the instant case, why then did it offer the
unable to testify; (b) his testimony or deposition was TSN of the testimony of Ganiban which was given in
given in a former case or proceeding, judicial or the criminal case? It appears that petitioner PRBLI
administrative, between the same parties or those wants to have its cake and eat it too. It cannot argue
representing the same interests; (c) the former case that the TSNs of the testimonies of the witnesses of
involved the same subject as that in the present case, the adverse party in the criminal case should not be
although on different causes of action; (d) the issue admitted and at the same time insist that the TSN of
testified to by the witness in the former trial is the the testimony of the witness for the accused be
same issue involved in the present case; and (e) the admitted in its favor. To disallow admission in
adverse party had an opportunity to cross-examine evidence of the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan,
the witness in the former case.22 Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the
criminal case and to admit the TSN of the testimony of
Admittedly, respondent failed to show the concurrence Ganiban would be unfair.
of all the requisites set forth by the Rules for a
testimony given in a former case or proceeding to be We do not subscribe to petitioner PRBLI’s argument
admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule. that it will be denied due process when the TSNs of
Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party in Criminal Case the testimonies of Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and
No. 684-M-89, had no opportunity to cross-examine Fernando Ramos in the criminal case are to be
the three witnesses in said case. The criminal case admitted in the civil case. It is too late for petitioner
was filed exclusively against petitioner Manliclic, PRBLI to raise denial of due process in relation to
petitioner PRBLI’s employee. The cases dealing with Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a
the subsidiary liability of employers uniformly declare ground for objecting to the admissibility of the TSNs.
For failure to object at the proper time, it waived its "5. That approximately at kilometer 40 of the North
right to object that the TSNs did not comply with Luzon Express Way, the above-described motor
Section 47. vehicle was suddenly bumped from behind by a
Philippine Rabbit Bus with Body No. 353 and with
In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,27 this Court, through plate No. CVD 478 then being driven by one Mauricio
Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno,28 admitted in Manliclic of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac, who was
evidence a TSN of the testimony of a witness in then travelling recklessly at a very fast speed and had
another case despite therein petitioner’s assertion that apparently lost control of his vehicle;
he would be denied due process. In admitting the TSN,
the Court ruled that the raising of denial of due "6. That as a result of the impact of the collision the
process in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the above-described motor vehicle was forced off the
Rules of Court, as a ground for objecting to the North Luzon Express Way towards the rightside
admissibility of the TSN was belatedly done. In so where it fell on its driver’s side on a ditch, and that as
doing, therein petitioner waived his right to object a consequence, the above-described motor vehicle
based on said ground. which maybe valued at EIGHTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P80,000) was rendered a total wreck as shown by
Petitioners contend that the documents in the criminal pictures to be presented during the pre-trial and trial of
case should not have been admitted in the instant civil this case;
case because Section 47 of Rule 130 refers only to
"testimony or deposition." We find such contention to "7. That also as a result of said incident, plaintiff
be untenable. Though said section speaks only of sustained bodily injuries which compounded plaintiff’s
testimony and deposition, it does not mean that frail physical condition and required his hospitalization
documents from a former case or proceeding cannot from July 12, 1988 up to and until July 22, 1988, copy
be admitted. Said documents can be admitted they of the medical certificate is hereto attached as Annex
being part of the testimonies of witnesses that have "A" and made an integral part hereof;
been admitted. Accordingly, they shall be given the
same weight as that to which the testimony may be "8. That the vehicular collision resulting in the total
entitled.29 wreckage of the above-described motor vehicle as
well as bodily (sic) sustained by plaintiff, was solely
On the second assigned error, petitioners contend due to the reckless imprudence of the defendant
that the version of petitioner Manliclic as to how the driver Mauricio Manliclic who drove his Philippine
accident occurred is more credible than respondent’s Rabbit Bus No. 353 at a fast speed without due regard
version. They anchor their contention on the fact that or observance of existing traffic rules and regulations;
petitioner Manliclic was acquitted by the Court of
Appeals of the charge of Reckless Imprudence "9. That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus Line
Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Corporation failed to exercise the diligence of a good
Injuries. father of (sic) family in the selection and supervision of
its drivers; x x x"31
To be resolved by the Court is the effect of petitioner
Manliclic’s acquittal in the civil case. Can Manliclic still be held liable for the collision and be
found negligent notwithstanding the declaration of the
From the complaint, it can be gathered that the civil Court of Appeals that there was an absence of
case for damages was one arising from, or based on, negligence on his part?
quasi-delict.30 Petitioner Manliclic was sued for his
negligence or reckless imprudence in causing the In exonerating petitioner Manliclic in the criminal case,
collision, while petitioner PRBLI was sued for its the Court of Appeals said:
failure to exercise the diligence of a good father in the
selection and supervision of its employees, To the following findings of the court a quo, to wit: that
particularly petitioner Manliclic. The allegations read: accused-appellant was negligent "when the bus he
was driving bumped the jeep from behind"; that "the
"4. That sometime on July 12, 1988 at around 6:20 proximate cause of the accident was his having driven
A.M. plaintiff was on board the above-described motor the bus at a great speed while closely following the
vehicle travelling at a moderate speed along the North jeep"; x x x
Luzon Expressway heading South towards Manila
together with MARCELO MENDOZA, who was then We do not agree.
driving the same;
The swerving of Calaunan’s jeep when it tried to omission complained of (or that there is declaration in
overtake the vehicle in front of it was beyond the a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might
control of accused-appellant. arise did not exist), said acquittal closes the door to
civil liability based on the crime or ex delicto. In this
xxxx second instance, there being no crime or delict to
speak of, civil liability based thereon or ex delicto is
Absent evidence of negligence, therefore, not possible. In this case, a civil action, if any, may be
accused-appellant cannot be held liable for Reckless instituted on grounds other than the delict complained
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with of.
Physical Injuries as defined in Article 365 of the
Revised Penal Code.32 As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or
culpa aquiliana, same will not be extinguished by an
From the foregoing declaration of the Court of Appeals, acquittal, whether it be on ground of reasonable doubt
it appears that petitioner Manliclic was acquitted not or that accused was not the author of the act or
on reasonable doubt, but on the ground that he is not omission complained of (or that there is declaration in
the author of the act complained of which is based on a final judgment that the fact from which the civil
Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Criminal liability might arise did not exist). The responsibility
Procedure which reads: arising from fault or negligence in a quasi-delict is
entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability
(b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it arising from negligence under the Penal Code.36 An
extinction of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely
from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from irrelevant in the civil case37 based on quasi-delict or
which the civil might arise did not exist. culpa aquiliana.

In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can still be Petitioners ask us to give credence to their version of
held liable for the mishap. The afore-quoted section how the collision occurred and to disregard that of
applies only to a civil action arising from crime or ex respondent’s. Petitioners insist that while the PRBLI
delicto and not to a civil action arising from bus was in the process of overtaking respondent’s
quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. The extinction of civil jeep, the latter, without warning, suddenly swerved to
liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111 the left (fast) lane in order to overtake another jeep
[now Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers exclusively to ahead of it, thus causing the collision.
civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised
Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act As a general rule, questions of fact may not be raised
considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is in a petition for review. The factual findings of the trial
not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal court, especially when affirmed by the appellate court,
case that the criminal act charged has not happened are binding and conclusive on the Supreme
or has not been committed by the accused.33 Court.38 Not being a trier of facts, this Court will not
allow a review thereof unless:
A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal
institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) the inference
independent from a delict or crime – a distinction made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse
exists between the civil liability arising from a crime of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a
and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are
extra-contractual. The same negligence causing conflicting; (6) the Court of Appeals went beyond the
damages may produce civil liability arising from a issues of the case and its findings are contrary to the
crime under the Penal Code, or create an action for admissions of both appellant and appellees; (7) the
quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual under the Civil findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to
Code.34 It is now settled that acquittal of the accused, those of the trial court; (8) said findings of fact are
even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does conclusions without citation of specific evidence on
not carry with it the extinction of the civil liability based which they are based; (9) the facts set forth in the
on quasi delict.35 petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply
briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and (10)
In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
reasonable doubt on his guilt, his civil liability arising premised on the supposed absence of evidence and
from the crime may be proved by preponderance of contradicted by the evidence on record.39
evidence only. However, if an accused is acquitted on
the basis that he was not the author of the act or
After going over the evidence on record, we do not overtake another jeep when the collision between the
find any of the exceptions that would warrant our jeep in question and the Philippine Rabbit bus took
departure from the general rule. We fully agree in the place.
finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, that it was petitioner Manliclic who was xxxx
negligent in driving the PRBLI bus which was the
cause of the collision. In giving credence to the If one would believe the testimony of the defendant,
version of the respondent, the trial court has this say: Mauricio Manliclic, and his conductor, Oscar Buan,
that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was already somewhat
x x x Thus, which of the two versions of the manner parallel to the jeep when the collision took place, the
how the collision took place was correct, would be point of collision on the jeep should have been
determinative of who between the two drivers was somewhat on the left side thereof rather than on its
negligent in the operation of their respective vehicle. rear. Furthermore, the jeep should have fallen on the
road itself rather than having been forced off the road.
In this regard, it should be noted that in the statement Useless, likewise to emphasize that the Philippine
of Mauricio Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to the Philippine Rabbit was running very fast as testified to by Ramos
Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading no mention was which was not controverted by the defendants.40
made by him about the fact that the driver of the jeep
was overtaking another jeep when the collision took Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclic’s
place. The allegation that another jeep was being negligence that caused the smash up, there arises the
overtaken by the jeep of Calaunan was testified to by juris tantum presumption that the employer is
him only in Crim. Case No. 684-M-89 before the negligent, rebuttable only by proof of observance of
Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan and before the diligence of a good father of a family.41 Under
this Court. Evidently, it was a product of an Article 218042 of the New Civil Code, when an injury is
afterthought on the part of Mauricio Manliclic so that caused by the negligence of the employee, there
he could explain why he should not be held instantly arises a presumption of law that there was
responsible for the incident. His attempt to veer away negligence on the part of the master or employer
from the truth was also apparent when it would be either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in
considered that in his statement given to the supervision over him after selection or both. The
Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading (Exh. 15), liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct
he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior
jeep of Calaunan while the Philippine Rabbit Bus was recourse against the negligent employee and a prior
behind the said jeep. In his testimony before the showing of the insolvency of such employee.
Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan as well as in Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private
this Court, he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus respondents to prove that they exercised the diligence
was already on the left side of the jeep when the of a good father of a family in the selection and
collision took place. For this inconsistency between supervision of their employee.43
his statement and testimony, his explanation
regarding the manner of how the collision between the In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that it
jeep and the bus took place should be taken with had shown that it exercised the required diligence in
caution. It might be true that in the statement of Oscar the selection and supervision of its employees,
Buan given to the Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV particularly petitioner Manliclic. In the matter of
Cabading, it was mentioned by the former that the selection, it showed the screening process that
jeep of plaintiff was in the act of overtaking another petitioner Manliclic underwent before he became a
jeep when the collision between the latter jeep and the regular driver. As to the exercise of due diligence in
Philippine Rabbit Bus took place. But the fact, the supervision of its employees, it argues that
however, that his statement was given on July 15, presence of ready investigators (Ganiban and
1988, one day after Mauricio Manliclic gave his Cabading) is sufficient proof that it exercised the
statement should not escape attention. The one-day required due diligence in the supervision of its
difference between the giving of the two statements employees.
would be significant enough to entertain the possibility
of Oscar Buan having received legal advise before In the selection of prospective employees, employers
giving his statement. Apart from that, as between his are required to examine them as to their qualifications,
statement and the statement of Manliclic himself, the experience and service records. In the supervision of
statement of the latter should prevail. Besides, in his employees, the employer must formulate standard
Affidavit of March 10, 1989, (Exh. 14), the unreliability operating procedures, monitor their implementation
of the statement of Oscar Buan (Exh. 13) given to CV and impose disciplinary measures for the breach
Cabading rear its "ugly head" when he did not mention thereof. To fend off vicarious liability, employers must
in said affidavit that the jeep of Calaunan was trying to
submit concrete proof, including documentary personnel. There has been no iota of evidence
evidence, that they complied with everything that was introduced by it that there are rules promulgated by
incumbent on them.44 the bus company regarding the safe operation of its
vehicle and in the way its driver should manage and
In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of operate the vehicles assigned to them. There is no
Appeals,45 it was explained that: showing that somebody in the bus company has been
employed to oversee how its driver should behave
Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the while operating their vehicles without courting
other hand, includes the formulation of suitable rules incidents similar to the herein case. In regard to
and regulations for the guidance of employees and supervision, it is not difficult to observe that the
the issuance of proper instructions intended for the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. has been negligent
protection of the public and persons with whom the as an employer and it should be made responsible for
employer has relations through his or its employees the acts of its employees, particularly the driver
and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures involved in this case.
upon employees in case of breach or as may be
warranted to ensure the performance of acts We agree. The presence of ready investigators after
indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their the occurrence of the accident is not enough to
employer. To this, we add that actual implementation exempt petitioner PRBLI from liability arising from the
and monitoring of consistent compliance with said negligence of petitioner Manliclic. Same does not
rules should be the constant concern of the employer, comply with the guidelines set forth in the cases
acting through dependable supervisors who should above-mentioned. The presence of the investigators
regularly report on their supervisory functions. after the accident is not enough supervision. Regular
supervision of employees, that is, prior to any accident,
In order that the defense of due diligence in the should have been shown and established. This,
selection and supervision of employees may be petitioner failed to do. The lack of supervision can
deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to further be seen by the fact that there is only one set of
emptily invoke the existence of said company manual containing the rules and regulations for all the
guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As drivers of PRBLI. 46 How then can all the drivers of
the negligence of the employee gives rise to the petitioner PRBLI know and be continually informed of
presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the rules and regulations when only one manual is
the latter has the burden of proving that it has been being lent to all the drivers?
diligent not only in the selection of employees but also
in the actual supervision of their work. The mere For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the
allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
supervisory policies, without anything more, is and supervision of its employees, petitioner PRBLI is
decidedly not sufficient to overcome such held solidarily responsible for the damages caused by
presumption. petitioner Manliclic’s negligence.

We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to We now go to the award of damages. The trial court
all employers, that "the formulation of various correctly awarded the amount of P40,838.00 as actual
company policies on safety without showing that they damages representing the amount paid by respondent
were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt for the towing and repair of his jeep.47 As regards the
petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its awards for moral and exemplary damages, same,
employees. It is incumbent upon petitioner to show under the circumstances, must be modified.
that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial court as moral
recruitment procedures and company policies on damages must be reduced
efficiency and safety were followed." x x x. to P50,000.00.48 Exemplary damages are imposed by
way of example or correction for the public
The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI exercised good.49 The amount awarded by the trial court must,
the diligence of a good father of a family in the likewise, be lowered to P50,000.00.50 The award
selection but not in the supervision of its employees. It of P15,000.00 for attorney’s fees and expenses of
expounded as follows: litigation is in order and authorized by law.51

From the evidence of the defendants, it seems that WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant
the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines has a very good petition for review is DENIED. The decision of the
procedure of recruiting its driver as well as in the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 is
maintenance of its vehicles. There is no evidence AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that (1) the
though that it is as good in the supervision of its award of moral damages shall be reduced
to P50,000.00; and (2) the award of exemplary x-----------------------------
damages shall be lowered to P50,000.00. Costs
against petitioners.
---------------------x

SO ORDERED. DECISION

SPS. BUENAVENTURA JAYME G.R.


No. 163609 REYES, R.T., J.:
AND ROSARIO JAYME,
Petitioners,
Present:
MAY a municipal mayor be held solidarily
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
liable for the negligent acts of the driver
C
assigned to him, which resulted in the death
h
of aa minor pedestrian?
i
r
p
e
Challenged
r in this petition for review
on scertiorari is the Decision[1] of the Court
of oAppeals (CA) which reversed and set
aside
n the decision of the Regional Trial
Court
, (RTC), Polomolok, Cotabato City,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, Branch 39, insofar as defendant Mayor
RODRIGO APOSTOL, Fernando Q. Miguel is concerned. The CA
FIDEL CHICO-NAZARIO, absolved Mayor Miguel from any liability
LOZANO, ERNESTO since it was not he, but
SIMBULAN, NACHURA, and the Municipality of Koronadal, that was the
MAYOR FERNANDO Q. employer of the negligent driver.
MIGUEL, REYES, JJ.
MUNICIPALITY OF KORONADAL The Facts
(NOW CITY OF KORONADAL),
PROVINCE OF SOUTH COTABATO, On February 5, 1989, Mayor Miguel of
represented by the MUNICIPAL Koronadal, South Cotabato was on board
TREASURER and/or MUNICIPAL the Isuzu pick-up truck driven by Fidel
MAYOR FERNANDO Q. MIGUEL, Lozano, an employee of
and THE FIRST [2]
the Municipalityof Koronadal. The
INTEGRATED Promulgated:
pick-up truck was registered under the name
BONDING AND INSURANCE
of Rodrigo Apostol, but it was then in the
COMPANY, INC. ,
possession of Ernesto Simbulan.[3] Lozano
Respondents. November
borrowed the pick-up truck from Simbulan
27, 2008
to bring Miguel
to Buayan Airport at General Santos City to
catch his Manila flight.[4]
across the highway made it impossible to
The pick-up truck accidentally hit Marvin C. avoid the accident. Yet, Miguel denied
Jayme, a minor, who was then crossing being on board the vehicle when it hit
the National Highway in Poblacion, Marvin. The Municipality of Koronadal ado
[5]
Polomolok, South Cotabato. The intensity pted the answer of Lozano and Miguel. As
of the collision sent Marvin some fifty (50) for First Integrated Bonding and Insurance
meters away from the point of impact, a Company, Inc., the vehicle insurer, it
clear indication that Lozano was driving at a insisted that its liability is contributory and
very high speed at the time of the is only conditioned on the right of the
accident.[6] insured. Since the insured did not file a
claim within the prescribed period, any
Marvin sustained severe head injuries cause of action against it had prescribed.
with subdural hematoma and diffused
cerebral contusion.[7] He was initially treated RTC Disposition
at
the Howard Hubbard MemorialHospital.[8] On January 25, 1999,
Due to the seriousness of his injuries, he the RTC rendered judgment in favor of
was airlifted to spouses Jayme, the dispositive portion of
the Ricardo Limso Medical Center in Davao which reads:
City for more intensive treatment.[9] Despite
medical attention, Marvin expired six (6) WHEREFORE, in view of the
days after the accident.[10] foregoing,
the defendant Municipality of
Petitioners spouses Buenaventura and Koronadal cannot be held liable
for the damages incurred by
Rosario Jayme, the parents of Marvin, filed
other defendant (sic) being an
a complaint for damages with
[11]
agency of the State performing a
the RTC against respondents. In their (sic) governmental
complaint, they prayed that all functions. The same with
respondents be held solidarily liable for defendant Hermogenes
their loss. They pointed out that that Simbulan, not being the owner
proximate cause of Marvins death was of the subject vehicle, he is
Lozanos negligent and reckless operation of absolved of any liability.
the vehicle. They prayed for actual, moral, The complaint against defendant
and exemplary damages, attorneys fees, and First Integrated Bonding
litigation expenses. Insurance Company, Inc. is
hereby ordered dismissed there
In their respective Answers, all being no cause of action against
said insurance company.
respondents denied liability for Marvins
death. Apostol and Simbulan averred that
However, defendants
Lozano took the pick-up truck without their
Fidel Lozano, Rodrigo Apostol,
consent. Likewise, Miguel and Lozano and Mayor Fernando Miguel of
pointed out that Marvins sudden sprint Koronadal, South Cotabato, are
hereby ordered jointly and 7. To pay the cost
severally to pay the plaintiff (sic) of this suit.
the following sums:
SO ORDERED.[12]

1. One Dissatisfied with the RTC ruling,


Hundred Seven Mayor Miguel interposed an appeal to the
ty Three Thous CA.
and One
Hundred One
CA Disposition
and Forty
Centavos
(P173,101.40) In his appeal, Mayor Miguel
Pesos as actual contended that the RTC erred in ruling that
damages with he was Lozanos employer and, hence,
legal interest of solidarily liable for the latters negligent
12% per act.Records showed that
annum the Municipality of Koronadal was the
computed drivers true and lawful employer. Mayor
from February Miguel also denied that he did not exercise
11, 1989 until due care and diligence in the supervision of
fully paid; Lozano. The incident, although unfortunate,
2. Fifty Thousand
was unexpected and cannot be attributed to
(P50,000.00)
him.
Pesos as moral
damages;
3. Twenty On October 22, 2003, the CA granted
Thousand the appeal, disposing as follows:
(P20,000.00)
Pesos as
exemplary
damages; WHEREFORE, the
4. Twenty Decision appealed from is
Thousand REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
(P20,000.00) insofar as defendant-appellant
Pesos as Mayor Fernando Q. Miguel is
Attorneys fees; concerned, and the complaint
5. Fifty Thousand against him is DISMISSED.
(P50,000.00)
Pesos for the IT IS SO ORDERED.[13]
death of
Marvin Jayme; The CA held that Mayor Miguel
6. Three Thousand should not be held liable for damages for the
(P3,000.00) as death of Marvin Jayme. Said the appellate
litigation court:
expenses; and
PRONOUNCEMENTS OF
Moreover, THIS HONORABLE
plaintiffs-appellees admitted that TRIBUNAL;
Mayor Miguel was not the
employer of Lozano. Thus, II.
paragraph 9 of the complaint THE FINDINGS OF
alleged that FACTS OF THE HONORABLE
the Municipality of Koronadal COURT OF
was the employer of both APPEALS ARE CONTRARY
Mayor Miguel and TO THE FINDINGS OF THE
Lozano. Not being the employer TRIAL
of Lozano, Mayor Miguel could COURT AND ARECONTRADI
not thus be held liable for the CTED BY THE EVIDENCE
damages caused by the ON RECORD; MOREOVER,
former. Mayor Miguel was a THE CONCLUSIONS DRAWN
mere passenger in the Isuzu BY THE HONORABLE
pick-up at the time of the COURT OF
accident.[14] (Emphasis supplied) APPEALS ARE ALL BASED
ON
The CA also reiterated the settled rule that it CONJECTURES AND SURMI
is the registered owner of a vehicle who is SES AND AGAINST
jointly and severally liable with the driver ACCEPTED COURSE OF
for damages incurred by passengers or third JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
WHICH URGENTLY CALL
persons as a consequence of injuries or
FOR AN EXERCISE OF THIS
death sustained in the operation of the
HONORABLE COURTS
vehicle. SUPERVISION. [15]

Issues
Our Ruling
The spouses Jayme have resorted to
the present recourse and assign to the CA
The doctrine of vicarious liability or
the following errors:
imputed liability finds no application in
the present case.
I.
THE HONORABLE
Spouses Jayme contend, inter alia,
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
IN HOLDING THAT MAYOR that vicarious liability attaches to Mayor
FERNANDO MIGUEL Miguel. He was not a mere passenger, but
CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE instead one who had direct control and
FOR THE DEATH OF supervision over Lozano during the time of
MARVIN JAYME WHICH the accident. According to petitioners, the
CONCLUSION IS element of direct control is not negated by
CONTRARY TO the fact that Lozanos employer was
LAW AND THE SETTLED the Municipality of Koronadal. Mayor
Miguel, being Lozanos superior, still had that if he fails satisfactorily to
control over the manner the vehicle was show the facts upon which he
operated. bases his claim, the defendant is
under no obligation to prove his
exceptions. This rue is in
Article 2180[16] of the Civil Code
harmony with the provisions of
provides that a person is not only liable for
Section 297 of the Code of Civil
ones own quasi-delictual acts, but also for Procedure holding that each
those persons for whom one is responsible party must prove his own
for. This liability is popularly known as affirmative allegations, etc.[20]
vicarious or imputed liability. To sustain
claims against employers for the acts of In resolving the present controversy,
their employees, the following requisites it is imperative to find out if Mayor Miguel
must be established: (1) That the employee is, indeed, the employer of Lozano and
was chosen by the employer personally or therefore liable for the negligent acts of the
through another; (2) That the service to be latter. To determine the existence of an
rendered in accordance with orders which employment relationship, We rely on the
the employer has the authority to give at all four-fold test. This involves: (1) the
times; and (3) That the illicit act of the employers power of selection; (2) payment
employee was on the occasion or by reason of wages or other remuneration; (3) the
of the functions entrusted to him.[17] employers right to control the method of
doing the work; and (4) the employers right
Significantly, to make the employee of suspension or dismissal.[21]
liable under paragraphs 5 and 6 of Article
2180, it must be established that the Applying the foregoing test, the CA
injurious or tortuous act was committed at correctly held that it was
the time the employee was performing his the Municipality of Koronadal which was
functions.[18] the lawful employer of Lozano at the time
of the accident. It is uncontested that
Furthermore, the employer-employee Lozano was employed as a driver by the
relationship cannot be assumed. It is municipality. That he was subsequently
incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove the assigned to Mayor Miguel during the time
relationship by preponderant of the accident is of no moment. This Court
[19]
evidence. In Belen v. Belen, this Court has, on several occasions, held that an
ruled that it was enough for defendant to employer-employee relationship still exists
deny an alleged employment even if the employee was loaned by the
relationship. The defendant is under no employer to another person or entity
obligation to prove the negative because control over the employee
averment. This Court said: subsists.[22] In the case under review,
the Municipality of Koronadal remains to be
It is an old and
Lozanos employer notwithstanding Lozanos
well-settled rule of the courts
assignment to Mayor Miguel.
that the burden of proving the
action is upon the plaintiff, and
Spouses Jayme argued that Mayor happens to be an occupant of the
Miguel had at least supervision and control vehicle.[27] Whatever right of control the
over Lozano and how the latter operated or occupant may have over the driver is not
drove the Isuzu pick-up during the time of sufficient by itself to justify an application
the accident. They, however, failed to of the doctrine of vicarious
buttress this claim. liability. Handley v. Lombardi[28] is
instructive on this exception to the rule on
Even assuming arguendo that Mayor vicarious liability:
Miguel had authority to give instructions or
directions to Lozano, he still can not be held Plaintiff was not the
liable. In Benson v. Sorrell,[23]the New master or principal of the driver
England Supreme Court ruled that mere of the truck, but only an
giving of directions to the driver does not intermediate and superior
employee or agent. This being so,
establish that the passenger has control over
the doctrine of respondeat
the vehicle. Neither does it render one the
superior or qui facit per alium is
employer of the driver. This Court, not properly applicable to
in Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon,[24] ruled in a him. His power to direct and
similar vein, to wit: control the driver was not as
master, but only by virtue of the
x x x The fact that a client fact that they were both
company may give instructions employed by Kruse, and the
or directions to the security further fact that as Kruses agent
guards assigned to it, does not, he was delegated Kruses
by itself, render the client authority over the driver. x x x
responsible as an employerof
the security guards concerned In the case of actionable
and liable for their wrongful acts negligence, the rule is well
and omissions. Those settled both in this state and
instructions or directions are elsewhere that the negligence of a
ordinarily no more than requests subordinate employee or
commonly envisaged in the subagent is not to be imputed to a
contract for services entered into superior employee or agent, but
with the security agency. x x only to the master or principal.
x[25] (Emphasis supplied) (Hilton v. Oliver, 204 Cal. 535
[61 A. L. R. 297, 269 Pac.
Significantly, no negligence may be 425]; Guild v. Brown, 115 Cal.
imputed against a fellow employee although App. 374 [1 Pac. (2d) 528]; Ellis
the person may have the right to control the v. Southern Ry. Co., 72 S. C. 464
manner of the vehicles operation.[26] In the [2 L. R. A. (N. S.) 378, 52 S. E.
absence of an employer-employee 228]; Thurman v. Pittsburg & M.
relationship establishing vicarious liability, Copper Co., 41 Mont. 141 [108
Pac. 588]; 2 Cor. Jur., p. 829; and
the drivers negligence should not be
see the elaborate note in 61 A. L.
attributed to a fellow employee who only
R. 277, and particularly that part
commencing at p. 290.) We can y for Spouses Jayme, the municipality may
see no logical reason for drawing not be sued because it is an agency of the
any distinction in this regard State engaged in governmental functions
between actionable negligence and, hence, immune from suit. This
and contributory negligence. x x
immunity is illustrated
x[29]
in Municipalityof San Fernando, La Union v.
Firme,[37] where this Court held:
The rule was reiterated in Bryant v.
Pacific Elec. Ry. Co.[30] and again It has already been remarked
in Sichterman v. Hollingshead Co.[31] that municipal corporations are
suable because their charters
In Swanson v. McQuown,[32] a case grant them the competence to
involving a military officer who happened sue and be sued. Nevertheless,
to be riding in a car driven by a subordinate they are generally not liable for
later involved in an accident, the Colorado torts committed by them in the
Supreme Court adhered to the general rule discharge of governmental
that a public official is not liable for the functions and can only be held
wrongful acts of his subordinates on a answerable only if it can be
shown that they were acting in
vicarious basis since the relationship is not a
proprietary capacity. In
true master-servant situation.[33] The court
permitting such entities to be
went on to rule that the only exception is sued, the State merely gives the
when they cooperate in the act complained claimant the right to show that
of, or direct or encourage it.[34] the defendant was not acting in
governmental capacity when the
In the case at bar, Mayor Miguel was injury was committed or that the
neither Lozanos employer nor the vehicles case comes under the exceptions
registered owner. There existed no causal recognized by law. Failing this,
relationship between him and Lozano or the the claimant cannot recover.[38]
vehicle used that will make him accountable
for Marvins death. Mayor Miguel was a Verily, liability attaches to the
mere passenger at the time of the accident. registered owner, the negligent driver and
his direct employer. The CA observation
Parenthetically, it has been held that along this line are worth restating:
the failure of a passenger to assist the driver,
by providing him warnings or by serving as Settled is the rule that the
lookout does not make the passenger liable registered owner of a vehicle is
for the latters negligent acts.[35] The drivers jointly and severally
liable with the driver for damage
duty is not one that may be delegated to
s incurred by passengers and
others.[36]
third persons as a consequence
of injuries or death sustained in
As correctly held by the trial court, the true the operation of said
and lawful employer of Lozano is vehicles. Regardless of who the
the Municipality of Koronadal. Unfortunatel
actual owner of the vehicle is, x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
the operator of record continues ---------------------x
to be the operator of the vehicle
as regards the public and third DECISION
persons, and as such is directly
and primarily responsible for the
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
consequences incident (sic) to its
operation x x x.[39]
Before the Court is a Petition for Review
on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
The accidental death of Marvin Jayme
Court, assailing the Decision[1] dated
is a tragic loss for his parents. However,
September 30, 1998 of the RegionalTrial
justice demands that only those liable under
Court (RTC), Branch 148, Makati City in
our laws be held accountable for Marvins
Civil Case No. 98-2075 which nullified the
demise. Justice can not sway in favor of
Writ of Execution dated August 12, 1998
petitioners simply to assuage their pain and
issued
loss. The law on the matter is clear: only the
by the MetropolitanTrial Court (MeTC),
negligent driver, the drivers employer, and
Branch 63, Makati City in Civil
the registered owner of the vehicle are liable
Case No. 59089, and the RTC
for the death of a third person resulting from
Order[2] dated March 5, 1999 denying the
the negligent operation of the vehicle.
Motion for Reconsideration.
WHEREFORE, the petition
The principal issue raised in the present
is DENIED and the appealed
petition pertains to the propriety of the
Decision AFFIRMED.
decision of the RTC in declaring as void the
SO ORDERED. writ of execution issued by the MeTCand in
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE G.R. ordering the consignation of rentals. Being
NO. 137884 pure questions of law, direct resort to this
COMPANY, LTD., Court is proper under Section 2(c), Rule 41
Petitioner, of the Rules of Court.
Present:
The factual antecedents of the case are as
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J., follows:
Acting Chairperson,
- versus - TINGA, Toyota Bel-Air, Inc. (Toyota) entered into a
CHICO-NAZARIO, Contract of Lease[3] over a 3,700-square
NACHURA, and meter lot and building owned by Insular
REYES, JJ. Life Assurance Company, Ltd. (Insular Life)
in Pasong Tamo Street, Makati City, for a
five-year period, from April 16,
TOYOTA BEL-AIR, INC., Promulgated: 1992 to April 15, 1997. Upon expiration of
Respondent. the lease, Toyota remained in possession of
March 28, 2008 the property. Despite repeated
demands, Toyota refused to vacate the Partial Appeal[9] of the decision insofar as
property. Thus, on January 28, 1998, Insular the issue of monthly compensation was
Life filed a Complaint[4] for concerned. Both parties, however, later filed
unlawful detainer against Toyota in separate motions to withdraw their
the MeTC. respective appeals.[10]

On July 3, 1998, MeTC rendered a On August 12, 1998, the MeTC issued an
[5]
Decision, the dispositive portion of which Order approving the withdrawal of notice of
reads: appeal of both parties. It also issued a Writ
of Execution,[11] on the following premise:
WHEREFORE, judgment is
hereby rendered in favor of WHEREAS, in a certain action
[Insular Life] and against for EJECTMENT of the
[Toyota]. The Court hereby following described premises, to
orders [Toyota]: wit: a parcel of Land and
Building located
1. and all persons claiming at Pasong Tamo, Makati City
possession of the premises under TCT No. 64737 of the
through [Toyota], to vacate the Registry of Deeds of Rizal,
leased properties and return x x x judgment was rendered on
possession thereof to [Insular the 3rd day of July,1998 that
Life]; [Insular Life] and all persons
2. to pay reasonable claiming under him/her/them
compensation at the rate have restitution of the premises
of P585,640.00 a month until and also that he/she/they recover
possession of the subject the sum of P585,640.00 a
premises is surrendered to the month from April 15,
[Insular Life]. 1997 until possession of the
3. to pay attorney's fees in the subject premises is surrendered
sum of P50,000.00; to plaintiff; to recover the sum
of P50,000.00 as and for
4. to pay expenses of litigation attorney's fees; P20,000.00 as
in the amount of P20,000.00; expenses of litigation and costs
5. to pay the costs of the suit. of suit.[12] x x x (Emphasis
supplied)
SO ORDERED.[6] (Emphasis Subsequently, the Deputy Sheriff of
supplied). the MeTC executed the writ by levying
on Toyota's personal and real properties, and
garnishing its bank accounts. He scheduled
On July 23, 1998, Insular Life filed a the auction of the levied properties
Motion for Execution[7] of the on August 28, 1998.
decision. Toyota, on the other hand, filed a
Notice of Appeal[8] of the decision. On August 24, 1998, Toyota filed a
Subsequently, Insular Life filed a Notice of Petition for Certiorari[13] with prayer for
injunctive relief in the RTC. It charged Decision,[19] holding that the MeTC acted
the MeTC with grave abuse of discretion in with grave abuse of
issuing the Writ of Execution since the writ discretion in issuing the Writ of Execution
amended the dispositive portion of the dated August 12, 1998 by giving retroactive
decision it sought to execute by giving effect to the reasonable compensation
retroactive effect to the payment of judgment of P585,640.00 by inserting the
reasonable compensation of P585,640.00 by date April 15, 1997 which was not provided
the inclusion of the phrase from April 15, for in the dispositive portion of
1997. the MeTC Decision; that
the clarificatory order issued by
On August 27, 1998, the RTC issued a the MeTC did not cure the ambiguity in the
temporary restraining order (TRO) decision since it omitted the phrase a month
enjoining the auction sale of Toyota's levied as originally stated in the Decision; that
properties.[14] considering the Writ of Execution is void,
the levy effected by the Sheriff is also void;
On August 28, 1998, Insular Life filed with and that consignation of rentals is proper
the MeTC a Motion to Clarify Decision since Toyota has been in possession of the
Dated July 3, 1998[15] praying that the court property since July 3, 1998.
issue an order clarifying
the dispositive portion of the Decision On October 13, 1998, Insular Life filed a
dated July 3, 1998. Motion for Reconsideration[20] of the RTC
Decision. On the same day, it filed with
On September 14, 1998, the MeTC issued the MeTC a Second Motion to Clarify
an Order,[16] clarifying paragraph 2 of Decision Dated July 3, 1998.[21]
the dispositive portion of the Decision
dated July 3, 1998 to read as: 2. to pay On October 28, 1998, the MeTC issued its
reasonable compensation in the amount second clarificatory order to correct
of P585,640.00 as of April 15, 1997 until paragraph 2 of the dispositive portion of the
possession of the subject premises is Decision dated July 3, 1998 to read as:
surrendered to plaintiff.[17] 2. [t]o pay reasonable compensation at
the rate of P585,640.00 a month as
On September 25, 1998, Toyota filed with of April 15, 1997 until possession of the
the RTC a Motion subject premises is surrendered to the
to Consignate P1,171,280.00 in favor of plaintiff.[22]
Insular Life and to submit the case for
decision.[18] The amount On March 5, 1999, the RTC issued an
of P1,171,280.00 represented the reasonable Order[23] denying Insular Life's motion for
compensation for the months of July and reconsideration.
August 1998.
On April 19, 1999, Insular Life then filed
Five days later, or on September 30, 1998, herein Petition for Review
the RTC rendered the herein assailed
on Certiorari[24] with this Court anchored on THE
the following grounds: RULES.

II
I

THE RTC COMMITTED A ASSUMING ARGUENDO


GRAVE ABUSE OF THAT THE MTC EXCEEDED
DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT ITS JURISDICTION IN
TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF ORDERING IN THE WRIT OF
ITS JURISDICTION IN EXECUTION THAT THE
VOIDING THE WRIT OF REASONABLE
EXECUTION ISSUED BY COMPENSATION BE
THE MTC. COMPUTED FROM APRIL 15,
1997, STILL, THE RTC
COMMITTED A GRAVE
i. THE WRIT ABUSE OF DISCRETION
OF TANTAMOUNT TO LACK OR
EXECUTIO IN EXCESS OF ITS
N IS IN JURISDICTION IN VOIDING
HARMONY THE ENTIRE WRIT OF
WITH THE EXECUTION.
INTENT,
SPIRIT III
AND
TERMS OF THE RTC COMMITTED A
THE GRAVE ABUSE OF
MTC'S DEC DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT
ISION DAT TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF
ED JULY 3, ITS JURISDICTION IN
1998. ORDERING IN THE
ii. THE WRIT CERTIORARI PROCEEDING
OF A QUO THE CONSIGNATION
EXECUTIO OF RENTALS.
N IS VALID
AND
ENFORCE IV
ABLE.
iii. THE RTC THE RTC COMMITTED A
SANCTION GRAVE ABUSE OF
ED TBA'S DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT
CRAFTY TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF
CIRCUMV ITS JURISDICTION IN NOT
ENTION OF DISMISSING THE
CERTIORARI PETITION A
QUO FOR TBA (PETITIONER Toyota vehicles worth P1.5 million; (b) the
BELOW) HAD A PLAIN, issuance of 12 postdated corporate checks to
SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE answer for the balance of P6.5 million in 12
REMEDY IN THE COURSE monthly installments; and (c) the posting of
OF LAW AND DID NOT
a surety bond which shall guarantee
AVAIL OF THE SAME.[25]
payment of installments.[27] Toyota insists
that the Compromise Agreement dated May
7, 1999 should be given effect considering
Insular Life contends that the case falls
that the preconditions contained in the
within the recognized exceptions to the rule
Compromise Agreement were complied
that only the dispositive portion of the
with, or at the very least substantially
decision controls the execution of judgment;
complied with;[28] and prayed that the case
that the pleadings, findings of fact and
should be remanded to the lower court for
conclusion of law expressed in the text of
the purpose of approving the Compromise
the MeTC's Decision dated July 13, 1998
Agreement dated May 7, 1999.[29]
should be resorted to, to clarify the
ambiguity in the dispositive portion of the
In a Resolution dated August 8, 2001, the
decision; that the intent to order payment of
Court remanded the case to the RTC for
rent as reasonable compensation from April
further proceedings to determine
15, 1997, when possession became unlawful,
whether Toyota had complied with the
can be inferred from the text of the decision;
conditions contained in the Compromise
that the RTC should not have nullified the
Agreement dated May 7, 1999 and
entire Writ of Execution since only the
thereafter elevate its findings and records
matter of reasonable compensation from
thereof to the Court.[30]
April 15, 1997 was at issue; that
consignation of rentals was improper since
In its Compliance[31] dated March 24,
the office of a writ of certiorari is to correct
2003, the RTC found that Toyota failed to
defects in jurisdiction solely and the legal
comply with conditions in the Compromise
requisites for a valid consignation were not
Agreement dated May 7, 1999 relating to
present; and that Toyota failed to resort to
the issuance of the 12 postdated corporate
available remedies before availing itself of
checks and the posting of a surety bond; that
the extraordinary remedy of certiorari. On
the postdated checks were not accepted
the matter of the compromise agreement,
since they were drawn from Toyota's
Insular Life reiterated that the agreement
garnished Metrobank account; that the
was a conditional compromise agreement
checks could have been encashed had
which was voided for Toyota's failure to
Insular Life lifted the garnishment; that the
comply with the conditions.[26]
surety bond was rejected for not having
been issued by a surety company that is
Toyota claims that the parties had entered
among Insular Life's list of acceptable
into a Compromise Agreement dated May 7,
surety companies; that as substitute
1999 whereby Toyota was obligated to pay
collateral, Toyota offered a Bukidnonreal
Insular Life P8 million under the following
property but Insular Life turned it down
terms and conditions: (a) the delivery of 3
since the owner's duplicate of title could not On the other hand, in its
be found and the property was not owned by Supplemental Memorandum,[34] Toyota
Toyota but by three corporations; that a submits that it substantially complied with
subsequent reconstitution of the title and the the terms of the Compromise Agreement
authorization by the three co-owner since the compromised amount was reduced
corporations to mortgage the Bukidnon real from P8 million to P6.5 million upon
property and to use it to stand as security for delivery of the three Toyota vehicles
the postdated checks failed to entice Insular worth P1.5 million; that it could have
Life to accept the proposal; and that Toyota complied with the requirement of the
acted in good faith in dealing with Insular delivery of 12 postdated checks had Insular
Life when it tried to comply with the Life lifted the garnishment on Toyota's bank
conditions in the Compromise Agreement. accounts effected by virtue of the Writ of
Execution dated August 12, 1998; that since
By Resolution[32] dated August 27, the Writ of Execution was voided by the
2003, the Court required both parties to RTC, the garnishment was also nullified;
submit supplemental memoranda, taking and that Insular Life's unjustified refusal to
into account the Compliance dated March give due course to the postdated checks, by
24, 2003 of the RTC. not lifting the garnishment, prevented said
checks from being encashed.
In its Supplemental
[33]
Memorandum, Insular Life maintains that It is necessary to resolve the matter
Toyota failed to comply with the conditions involving the efficacy of the Compromise
relating to the postdated checks and the Agreement between the parties before the
surety bond; that the garnishment of merits of the petition can be discussed.
Toyota's bank accounts was a known fact;
that it would have been absolutely foolhardy Jurisprudence teaches us that when a
for Insular Life to cause the immediate contract is subject to a suspensive condition,
lifting of the garnishment upon Toyota's its birth or effectivity can take place only if
mere delivery to it of the postdated checks; and when the event which constitutes the
that the lifting of the garnishment is one of condition happens or is fulfilled,[35] and if
the the suspensive condition does not take place,
consequences once all the conditions of the the parties would stand as if the conditional
compromise are met; that Toyota admitted obligation has never existed.[36]
in a Letter dated May 21, 1999 to Insular
Life its inability to comply with the surety In this case, the Compromise
bond requirement; that Toyota's good faith Agreement clearly stipulates that it shall
is immaterial; that Toyota cannot claim become valid and binding only upon the
substantial compliance since it failed to occurrence of all the conditions in the
comply with the conditions of the agreement, to wit:
Compromise Agreement.
2. This Agreement when signed
by the parties shall take effect
and shall become valid and
binding only upon the breach, casual or serious, but a situation that
occurrence of all of the prevented the obligation under the
following based on a Compromise Agreement from acquiring
certification or obligatory force. For its non-fulfillment,
acknowledgment certified
there was no contract or agreement to speak
and issued by INSULAR
of, Toyota having failed to comply or
LIFE:
perform the suspensive conditions which
2.1 transfer of ownership and enforce a juridical
[38]
delivery of the relation. Since Toyota was unable to
aforementioned three (3) comply with the last two conditions of the
motor vehicles in favor of agreement, which
INSULAR LIFE in were suspensive conditions, Insular Life
accordance with the cannot be compelled to comply with its
provisions of Section obligation to end the present litigation. No
1.1. hereof; right in favor of Toyota arose and no
obligation on the part of Insular Life was
2.2. TBA's execution, created.[39]
issuance and delivery of
twelve (12) post-dated
Toyota faults Insular Life for its
TBA corporate checks
failure to comply with the requirements of
signed by ROBERT L.
YUPANGCO in favor of the Compromise Agreement because Insular
INSULAR LIFE in Life refused to accept checks from Toyota's
accordance with the garnished account. However, Insular Life
provisions of this should not be blamed for this. It would be
Agreement; imprudent and foolhardy on Insular Life's
part to lift the garnishment on Toyota's bank
2.3. the issuance of the Surety accounts. The garnishment was one of the
Company and delivery of effects of the issuance of the Writ of
the Bond in the amount of Execution, and while the RTC nullified the
PESOS: SIX MILLION Writ of Execution, its decision on the matter
FIVE HUNDRED is not yet final as it is, in fact, subject of the
THOUSAND
present petition.
(P6,5000,000.00) to and
in favor of INSULAR
LIFE under this Besides, even if Insular Life accepted
[37]
Agreement. x x x (Emp the postdated checks, Toyota still failed to
hasis supplied) comply with the requirement of posting of a
surety bond from Insular Life's list of
Thus, the issuance of 12 postdated acceptable sureties which would guarantee
checks and the posting of a surety bond are the payment of installments. Even the
positive suspensive conditions of the substitute collateral proposed by Toyota was
Compromise Agreement, the not accepted by Insular Life.Since the
non-compliance with which was not a conditions of the Compromise Agreement
were not met or fulfilled by Toyota, the stated before the court; or the proceeding in
parties stand as if no agreement to end the which the order occurred is a patent nullity,
litigation was reached. as the court acted without jurisdiction,
Toyota failed to show that any of the
And now on the merits of the petition. exceptions apply. Toyota may not arrogate
to itself the determination of whether
The Court finds the petition recourse to an available remedy is necessary
impressed with merit for the following or not.[42] In the instant case, it appears
reasons: that Toyota had adequate remedies under
the law. It could have filed with the MeTC a
First, the RTC erred in giving due motion to quash the writ of execution or a
course to Toyota's petition motion to clarify the dispositive portion of
for certiorari. The filing of the petition the decision. There is no showing that either
for certiorari was premature and motion would not be a prompt and adequate
unwarranted. The cardinal rule is that before remedy, or that there was such urgent
a petition for certiorari can be brought necessity for relief that only recourse
against an order of the lower court, all to certiorari was proper.
remedies available in that court must first be
exhausted. Thus, for the special civil action
for certiorari to prosper, there must be no Second, while the general rule is that
appeal nor any plain, speedy and adequate the portion of a decision that becomes the
remedy in the ordinary course of law.[40] The subject of execution is that ordained or
court must be given sufficient opportunity to decreed in the dispositive part thereof, there
correct the error it may have committed. are recognized exceptions to this rule:
The reason for this rule is that issues, which (a).where there is ambiguity or uncertainty,
courts of first instance are bound to decide, the body of the opinion may be referred to
should not be taken summarily from them for purposes of construing the judgment,
and submitted to an appellate court, without because the dispositive part of a decision
first giving the lower courts an opportunity must find support from the
[43]
to dispose of the same with due decisions ratio decidendi; and (b).where
deliberation.[41] extensive and explicit discussion and
settlement of the issue is found in the body
of the decision.[44]
While there are exceptions to the rule,
such as where the order complained of is
void for being violative of due process; or Considering the circumstances of the
there are special circumstances which instant case, the Court finds that the
warrant immediate and more direct action; exception to the general rule applies to the
or the lower court has taken an unreasonably instant case. The RTC should have referred
long time to resolve the motions before it to the body of the decision for purposes of
and a further delay would prejudice the construing the reasonable compensation
party concerned; or the motion will raise the judgment, because the dispositive part of a
same point which has already been squarely decision must find support from the
decisions ratio decidendi. Findings of the in arithmetical
court are to be considered in the computation. At
interpretation of the dispositive portion of the same time,
the judgment.[45] what is involved
here is not a
correction of an
Indeed, to grasp and delve into the erroneous
true intent and meaning of a decision, no judgment
specific portion thereof should be resorted or dispositive porti
on of a judgment.
to - the decision must be considered in its
What we believe is
entirety.[46] The Court
involved here is in
may resort to the pleadings of the parties, its the nature of
findings of fact and conclusions of law as an inadvertent
expressed in the body of the decision to omission on the
clarify any ambiguities caused by any part of the Court
inadvertent omission or mistake in of First
the dispositive portion thereof.[47] Instance (which
should have been
noticed by private
In Reinsurance Company of the respondents
Orient, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[48] the counsel who had
Court held: prepared the
complaint), of
what might be
In Republic Surety and described as a
Insurance Company, Inc. v. logical
Intermediate Appellate Court, follow-through of
the Court applying the above something set
doctrine said: forth both in the
x x x We body of the
clarify, in other decision and in
words, what we did the dispositive por
affirm. What is tion thereof: the
involved here is not inevitable
what is ordinarily follow-through, or
regarded as a translation into,
clerical error in operational or
the dispositive part behavioral terms,
of the decision of of the annulment of
the Court of First the Deed of Sale
Instance, which with Assumption
type of error is of Mortgage, from
perhaps best which petitioners
typified by an error title or claim of
title embodied in
TCT 133153 contract did not bear the
[49]
flow. (Emphasis acquiescence of [Insular
supplied) Life]. In fact, [Toyota] was
informed by [Insular Life] to
vacate the leased premises on or
In the present case, the omission of the before April 30, 1997 (Exh. F to
award of payment of rental from April 15, the affidavit of Mr. Flores).
1997 was obviously through mere
inadvertence. The pleadings, findings of fact
The existence of Exh. F
and conclusions of law of the MeTC bear
negates that an implied lease
out that upon the termination of the lease was established between [Insular
on April 15, 1997, Toyota's possession of Life] and [Toyota]. It is now
the property became unlawful; thus, from apparent that [Toyota] is
that date, payment of rents must be unlawfully withholding
reckoned. The importance of April 15, possession of the leased
1997 as termination date of the lease was premises.
emphasized by the MeTC in the body of its
Decision, thus:
xxxx

The claim of [Toyota]


that notice to vacate was made [Toyota], having enjoyed
on them only on December 9, the use and possession of the
1997 is belied by Exhibits C, D, leased property over the
E and F which are attached to objection of [Insular Life]
the affidavit of Januario Flores, x x x [Insular Life] is entitled to
the Asst. Vice-President of reasonable compensation of Five
[Insular Life]. These exhibits are Hundred Eighty Five Thousand
letters written by Asst. Six Hundred Forty Pesos
Vice-President Flores to Mr. (P585,640.00) a month until
Isidro Laforteza Vice-President possession thereof is returned to
of [Toyota] dated March 1, [Insular Life] which amount is
1994, March 4, 1996, March 3, double the amount of the last
1997 and April 14, 1997, monthly rental paid by [Toyota]
respectively. These letters show to [Insular
[50]
that as early as 1994, [Insular Life]. x x x (Emphasis
Life] had already informed supplied).
[Toyota] if its intention to take
back possession of the leased
premises by not renewing the
Third, the RTC erred in granting Toyota's
lease contract upon its motion for consignation. It was precipitate
expiration on April 15, and unauthorized. It is basic
1997. Hence the continued that certiorari under Rule 65 is a remedy
possession of [Toyota] after narrow in scope and inflexible in character.
the expiration of the lease It is not a general utility tool in the legal
workshop.[51] It offers only authorities whenever the creditor cannot
a limited form of review. Its principal accept or refuses to accept payment and it
function is to keep an inferior tribunal generally requires a prior tender of
within its jurisdiction.[52] It can be invoked payment.[56] In order that consignation may
only for an error of jurisdiction, that is, one be effective, the debtor must show that: (1)
in which the act complained of was issued there was a debt due; (2) the consignation of
by the court, officer or a quasi-judicial body the obligation was made because the
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with creditor to whom tender of payment had
grave abuse of discretion which was been made refused to accept it or was absent
tantamount to lack or excess of or incapacitated, or because several persons
jurisdiction;[53] it is not to be used for any claimed to be entitled to receive the amount
other purpose,[54] such as to cure errors in due, or because the title to the obligation
proceedings or to correct erroneous was lost; (3) previous notice of the
conclusions of law or fact.[55] consignation was given to the person
interested in the performance of the
obligation; (4) the amount due was placed at
The only issue involved in the RTC the disposal of the court; and (5) after the
was whether the writ of execution issued by consignation had been made, the person
the MeTC was issued in excess of interested was notified thereof.[57] Failure in
jurisdiction. any of these requirements is enough ground
to render a consignation ineffective.
The determination of the propriety of In the present case, Toyota failed to
consignation as ordered by the RTC is a allege (2) and (3) above, much less prove
factual matter which by the weight of that any of the requirements was present.
judicial precedents cannot be The mere fact that Toyota had been in
inquired into by the RTC in a petition possession of the property since July 3,
for certiorari. The sole office of the writ 1998, when the MeTC Decision was
of certiorari is the correction of errors of promulgated, is not a sufficient justification
jurisdiction including the commission of to grant the motion to consign the rents due.
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction. Finally, the Court cannot help but call
the RTCs attention to the prejudice it has
Nevertheless, in the interest of prompt wittingly or unwittingly caused Insular Life
disposition of the present case, the Court by voiding the entire writ of execution when
opts to resolve the question whether what was assailed was simply the inclusion
consignation is proper under the undisputed of the phrase from April 15, 1997 in the
circumstances. reasonable compensation judgment of
the MeTC. The order for Toyota to vacate
the lease properties and return possession
Consignation is the act of depositing thereof to Insular Life, and pay attorney's
the thing due with the court or judicial
fees and litigation expenses was not assailed G.R. No. 137873 April 20, 2001

and should have been enforced. D. M. CONSUNJI, INC., petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MARIA J.
The factual milieu of the present case JUEGO, respondents.

demonstrates eloquently KAPUNAN, J.:


that Toyota misused all known technicalities
and remedies to prolong the proceedings in At around 1:30 p.m., November 2, 1990, Jose Juego,
a construction worker of D. M. Consunji, Inc., fell 14
a simple ejectment case. The equitable floors from the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his
remedy provided by the summary nature death.
of ejectment proceedings has been frustrated
PO3 Rogelio Villanueva of the Eastern Police District
by Toyota to the great prejudice of Insular investigated the tragedy and filed a report dated
Life and the time of this Court. November 25, 1990, stating that:

x x x. [The] [v]ictim was rushed to [the] Rizal Medical


Center in Pasig, Metro Manila where he was
Ironically, the precipitate action of the pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) by the attending
RTC in giving due course to Toyota's physician, Dr. Errol de Yzo[,] at around 2:15 p.m. of
the same date.
petition
for certiorari prolonged the litigation and Investigation disclosed that at the given time, date and
unnecessarily delayed the case, in the place, while victim Jose A. Juego together with Jessie
Jaluag and Delso Destajo [were] performing their work
process causing the very evil it apparently as carpenter[s] at the elevator core of the 14th floor of
sought to avoid. Instead of unclogging the Tower D, Renaissance Tower Building on board a
[p]latform made of channel beam (steel) measuring
dockets, it has actually increased the work
4.8 meters by 2 meters wide with pinulid plywood
load of the justice system as a whole. Such flooring and cable wires attached to its four corners
action does not inspire public confidence in and hooked at the 5 ton chain block, when suddenly,
the bolt or pin which was merely inserted to connect
the administration of justice. the chain block with the [p]latform, got loose xxx
causing the whole [p]latform assembly and the victim
to fall down to the basement of the elevator core,
WHEREFORE, the petition is Tower D of the building under construction thereby
crushing the victim of death, save his two (2)
hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated companions who luckily jumped out for safety.
September 30, 1998 and Order dated March
5, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch It is thus manifest that Jose A. Juego was crushed to
death when the [p]latform he was then on board and
148, Makati City are REVERSED and SET performing work, fell. And the falling of the [p]latform
ASIDE. The Writ of Execution was due to the removal or getting loose of the pin
which was merely inserted to the connecting points of
dated August 12, 1998 as clarified in the
the chain block and [p]latform but without a safety
Order dated October 28, 1998 of the lock.1
Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati,
On May 9, 1991, Jose Juego’s widow, Maria, filed in
is declared VALID. the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig a complaint
for damages against the deceased’s employer, D.M.
Consunji, Inc. The employer raised, among other
Double costs against petitioner. defenses, the widow’s prior availment of the benefits
from the State Insurance Fund.

SO ORDERED.
After trial, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of the what he merely learned from others either because he
widow Maria Juego. The dispositive portion of the was told or read or heard the same. Such testimony is
RTC decision reads: considered hearsay and may not be received as proof
of the truth of what he has learned.5 This is known as
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the hearsay rule.
defendant to pay plaintiff, as follows:
Hearsay is not limited to oral testimony or statements;
1. P50,000.00 for the death of Jose A. Juego. the general rule that excludes hearsay as evidence
applies to written, as well as oral statements.6
2. P10,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages.
The theory of the hearsay rule is that the many
3. P464,000.00 for the loss of Jose A. Juego’s earning possible deficiencies, suppressions, sources of error
capacity. and untrustworthiness, which lie underneath the bare
untested assertion of a witness, may be best brought
4. P100,000.00 as moral damages. to light and exposed by the test of
cross-examiantion.7 The hearsay rule, therefore,
5. P20,000.00 as attorney’s fees, plus the costs of excludes evidence that cannot be tested by
suit. cross-examination.8

SO ORDERED. 2 The Rules of Court allow several exceptions to the


rule,9 among which are entries in official records.
On appeal by D. M. Consunji, the Court of Appeals Section 44, Rule 130 provides:
(CA) affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto.
Entries in official records made in the performance of
D. M. Consunji now seeks the reversal of the CA his duty made in the performance of his duty by a
decision on the following grounds: public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the
performance of a duty specially enjoined by law
are prima facieevidence of the facts therein stated.
 THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
HOLDING THAT THE POLICE REPORT
WAS ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE OF THE In Africa, et al. vs. Caltex (Phil.), Inc., et al., this Court,
10

ALLEGED NEGLIGENCE OF PETITIONER. citing the work of Chief Justice Moran, enumerated
the requisites for admissibility under the above rule:
 THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
HOLDING THAT THE DOCTRINE OF RES (a) that the entry was made by a public officer or by
IPSA LOQUITOR[sic] IS APPLICABLE TO another person specially enjoined by law to do so;
PROVE NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF
PETITIONER. (b) that it was made by the public officer in the
performance of his duties, or by such other person in
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law;
 THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
and
HOLDING THAT PETITIONER IS
PRESUMED NEGLIGENT UNDER ARTICLE
2180 OF THE CIVIL CODE, AND (c) that the public officer or other person had sufficient
knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must
have been acquired by him personally or through
 THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
official information.
HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT
PRECLUDED FROM RECOVERING
DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL CODE. 3
The CA held that the police report meets all these
requisites. Petitioner contends that the last requisite is
not present.
Petitioner maintains that the police report reproduced
above is hearsay and, therefore, inadmissible. The CA
ruled otherwise. It held that said report, being an entry The Court notes that PO3 Villanueva, who signed the
in official records, is an exception to the hearsay rule. report in question, also testified before the trial court.
In Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, which involved a
11

Fire Investigation Report, the officer who signed the


The Rules of Court provide that a witness can testify
fire report also testified before the trial court. This
only to those facts which he knows of his personal
Court held that the report was inadmissible for the
knowledge, that is, which are derived from his
purpose of proving the truth of the statements
perception. A witness, therefore, may not testify as
4

contained in the report but admissible insofar as it


constitutes part of the testimony of the officer who documents, which is not extended to private
executed the report. documents. (3 Wigmore on Evidence, Sec. 1631).

x x x. Since Major Enriquez himself took the witness The law reposes a particular confidence in public
stand and was available for cross-examination, the officers that it presumes they will discharge their
portions of the report which were of his personal several trusts with accuracy and fidelity; and,
knowledge or which consisted of his perceptions and therefore, whatever acts they do in discharge of their
conclusions were not hearsay. The rest of the report, duty may be given in evidence and shall be taken to
such as the summary of the statements of the parties be true under such a degree of caution as to the
based on their sworn statements (which were nature and circumstances of each case may appear to
annexed to the Report) as well as the latter, having require.
been included in the first purpose of the offer [as part
of the testimony of Major Enriquez], may then be It would have been an entirely different matter if Major
considered as independently relevant Enriquez was not presented to testify on his report. In
statements which were gathered in the course of the that case the applicability of Section 44 of Rule 143
investigation and may thus be admitted as such, but would have been ripe for determination, and this Court
not necessarily to prove the truth thereof. It has been would have agreed with the Court of Appeals that said
said that: report was inadmissible since the aforementioned
third requisite was not satisfied. The statements given
"Where regardless of the truth or falsity of a statement, by the sources of information of Major Enriquez failed
the fact that it has been made is relevant, the hearsay to qualify as "official information," there being no
rule does not apply, but the statement may be shown. showing that, at the very least, they were under a duty
Evidence as to the making of such statement is not to give the statements for record.
secondary but primary, for the statement itself may
constitute a fact in issue, or be circumstantially Similarly, the police report in this case is inadmissible
relevant as to the existence of such a fact." for the purpose of proving the truth of the statements
contained therein but is admissible insofar as it
When Major Enriquez took the witness stand, testified constitutes part of the testimony of PO3 Villanueva.
for petitioners on his Report and made himself
available for cross-examination by the adverse party, In any case, the Court holds that portions of PO3
the Report, insofar as it proved that certain utterances Villanueva’s testimony which were of his personal
were made (but not their truth), was effectively knowledge suffice to prove that Jose Juego indeed
removed from the ambit of the aforementioned died as a result of the elevator crash. PO3 Villanueva
Section 44 of Rule 130. Properly understood, this had seen Juego’s remains at the morgue, making the
12

section does away with the testimony in open court of latter’s death beyond dispute. PO3 Villanueva also
the officer who made the official record, considers the conducted an ocular inspection of the premises of the
matter as an exception to the hearsay rule and makes building the day after the incident and saw the
13

the entries in said official record admissible in platform for himself. He observed that the platform
14

evidence as prima facie evidence of the facts therein was crushed and that it was totally damaged. PO3
15 16

stated. The underlying reasons for this exceptionary Villanueva also required Garcia and Fabro to bring the
rule are necessity and trustworthiness, as explained chain block to the police headquarters. Upon
in Antillon v. Barcelon. inspection, he noticed that the chain was detached
from the lifting machine, without any pin or bolt.17
The litigation is unlimited in which testimony by
officials is daily needed; the occasions in which the What petitioner takes particular exception to is PO3
officials would be summoned from his ordinary duties Villanueva’s testimony that the cause of the fall of the
to declare as a witness are numberless. The public platform was the loosening of the bolt from the chain
officers are few in whose daily work something is not block. It is claimed that such portion of the testimony is
done in which testimony is not needed from official mere opinion. Subject to certain exceptions, the 18

sources. Were there no exception for official opinion of a witness is generally not admissible.19
statements, hosts of officials would be found devoting
the greater part of their time to attending as witnesses Petitioner’s contention, however, loses relevance in
in court or delivering deposition before an officer. The the face of the application of res ipsa loquitur by the
work of administration of government and the interest CA. The effect of the doctrine is to warrant a
of the public having business with officials would alike presumption or inference that the mere fall of the
suffer in consequence. For these reasons, and for elevator was a result of the person having charge of
many others, a certain verity is accorded such the instrumentality was negligent. As a rule of
evidence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar
to the law of negligence which recognizes that prima that under the peculiar circumstances in which the
facie negligence may be established without direct doctrine is applicable, it is within the power of the
proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of defendant to show that there was no negligence on
negligence.20 his part, and direct proof of defendant’s negligence is
beyond plaintiff’s power. Accordingly, some court add
The concept of res ipsa loquitur has been explained in to the three prerequisites for the application of the res
this wise: ipsa loquitur doctrine the further requirement that for
the res ipsa loquitur doctrine to apply, it must appear
While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or that the injured party had no knowledge or means of
presumed, and while the mere happening of an knowledge as to the cause of the accident, or that the
accident or injury will not generally give rise to an party to be charged with negligence has superior
inference or presumption that it was due to negligence knowledge or opportunity for explanation of the
on defendant’s part, under the doctrine of res ipsa accident.23
loquitur, which means, literally, the thing or transaction
speaks for itself, or in one jurisdiction, that the thing or The CA held that all the requisites of res ipsa
instrumentality speaks for itself, the facts or loquitur are present in the case at bar:
circumstances accompanying an injury may be such
as to raise a presumption, or at least permit an There is no dispute that appellee’s husband fell down
inference of negligence on the part of the defendant, from the 14th floor of a building to the basement while
or some other person who is charged with negligence. he was working with appellant’s construction project,
resulting to his death. The construction site is within
x x x where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality the exclusive control and management of appellant. It
which caused the injury complained of was under the has a safety engineer, a project superintendent, a
control or management of the defendant, and that the carpenter leadman and others who are in complete
occurrence resulting in the injury was such as in the control of the situation therein. The circumstances of
ordinary course of things would not happen if those any accident that would occur therein are peculiarly
who had its control or management used proper care, within the knowledge of the appellant or its employees.
there is sufficient evidence, or, as sometimes stated, On the other hand, the appellee is not in a position to
reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation know what caused the accident. Res ipsa loquitur is a
by the defendant, that the injury arose from or was rule of necessity and it applies where evidence is
caused by the defendant’s want of care.21 absent or not readily available, provided the following
requisites are present: (1) the accident was of a kind
One of the theoretical based for the doctrine is its which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is
necessity, i.e., that necessary evidence is absent or negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which
not available.22 caused the injury was under the exclusive control of
the person charged with negligence; and (3) the injury
The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon the suffered must not have been due to any voluntary
theory that the defendant in charge of the action or contribution on the part of the person injured.
instrumentality which causes the injury either knows x x x.
the cause of the accident or has the best opportunity
of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such No worker is going to fall from the 14th floor of a
knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege building to the basement while performing work in a
negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof construction site unless someone is negligent[;] thus,
of the happening of the accident in order to establish the first requisite for the application of the rule of res
negligence. The inference which the doctrine permits ipsa loquitur is present. As explained earlier, the
is grounded upon the fact that the chief evidence of construction site with all its paraphernalia and human
the true cause, whether culpable or innocent, is resources that likely caused the injury is under the
practically accessible to the defendant but exclusive control and management of appellant[;]
inaccessible to the injured person. thus[,] the second requisite is also present. No
contributory negligence was attributed to the
It has been said that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur appellee’s deceased husband[;] thus[,] the last
furnishes a bridge by which a plaintiff, without requisite is also present. All the requisites for the
knowledge of the cause, reaches over to defendant application of the rule of res ipsa loquitur are present,
who knows or should know the cause, for any thus a reasonable presumption or inference of
explanation of care exercised by the defendant in appellant’s negligence arises. x x x.24
respect of the matter of which the plaintiff complains.
The res ipsa loquitur doctrine, another court has said, Petitioner does not dispute the existence of the
is a rule of necessity, in that it proceeds on the theory requisites for the application of res ipsa loquitur, but
argues that the presumption or inference that it was Next, petitioner argues that private respondent had
negligent did not arise since it "proved that it exercised previously availed of the death benefits provided
due care to avoid the accident which befell under the Labor Code and is, therefore, precluded
respondent’s husband." from claiming from the deceased’s employer damages
under the Civil Code.
Petitioner apparently misapprehends the procedural
effect of the doctrine. As stated earlier, the Article 173 of the Labor Code states:
defendant’s negligence is presumed or inferred when
25

the plaintiff establishes the requisites for the Article 173. Extent of liability. – Unless otherwise
application of res ipsa loquitur. Once the plaintiff provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund
makes out a prima facie case of all the elements, the under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all
burden then shifts to defendant to explain. The 26
other liabilities of the employer to the employee, his
presumption or inference may be rebutted or dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive
overcome by other evidence and, under appropriate damages on behalf of the employee or his
circumstances disputable presumption, such as that of dependents. The payment of compensation under this
due care or innocence, may outweigh the inference. 27
Title shall not bar the recovery of benefits as provided
It is not for the defendant to explain or prove its for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code,
defense to prevent the presumption or inference from Republic Act Numbered Eleven hundred sixty-one, as
arising. Evidence by the defendant of say, due care, amended, Republic Act Numbered Six hundred ten,
comes into play only after the circumstances for the as amended, Republic Act Numbered Forty-eight
application of the doctrine has been established. 1âwphi1.n êt

hundred sixty-four as amended, and other laws whose


benefits are administered by the System or by other
In any case, petitioner cites the sworn statement of its agencies of the government.
leadman Ferdinand Fabro executed before the police
investigator as evidence of its due care. According to The precursor of Article 173 of the Labor Code,
Fabro’s sworn statement, the company enacted rules Section 5 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act,
and regulations for the safety and security of its provided that:
workers. Moreover, the leadman and
the bodegero inspect the chain block before allowing Section 5. Exclusive right to compensation. – The
its use. rights and remedies granted by this Act to an
employee by reason of a personal injury entitling him
It is ironic that petitioner relies on Fabro’s sworn to compensation shall exclude all other rights and
statement as proof of its due care but, in arguing that remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
private respondent failed to prove negligence on the representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against
part of petitioner’s employees, also assails the same the employer under the Civil Code and other laws
statement for being hearsay. because of said injury x x x.

Petitioner is correct. Fabro’s sworn statement is Whether Section 5 of the Workmen’s Compensation
hearsay and inadmissible. Affidavits are inadmissible Act allowed recovery under said Act as well as under
as evidence under the hearsay rule, unless the affiant the Civil Code used to be the subject of conflicting
is placed on the witness stand to testify thereon. The 28
decisions. The Court finally settled the matter
inadmissibility of this sort of evidence is based not in Floresca vs.Philex Mining Corporation, which 30

only on the lack of opportunity on the part of the involved a cave-in resulting in the death of the
adverse party to cross-examine the affiant, but also on employees of the Philex Mining Corporation. Alleging
the commonly known fact that, generally, an affidavit that the mining corporation, in violation of government
is not prepared by the affiant himself but by another rules and regulations, failed to take the required
who uses his own language in writing the affiant’s precautions for the protection of the employees, the
statements which may either be omitted or heirs of the deceased employees filed a complaint
misunderstood by the one writing them. Petitioner,
29
against Philex Mining in the Court of First Instance
therefore, cannot use said statement as proof of its (CFI). Upon motion of Philex Mining, the CFI
due care any more than private respondent can use it dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The
to prove the cause of her husband’s death. heirs sought relief from this Court.
Regrettably, petitioner does not cite any other
evidence to rebut the inference or presumption of Addressing the issue of whether the heirs had a
negligence arising from the application of res ipsa choice of remedies, majority of the Court En Banc, 31

loquitur, or to establish any defense relating to the following the rule in Pacaña vs. Cebu Autobus
incident. Company, held in the affirmative.
WE now come to the query as to whether or not the Philex, and of its negligence, they would not have
injured employee or his heirs in case of death have a sought redress under the Workmen’s Compensation
right of selection or choice of action between availing Commission which awarded a lesser amount for
themselves of the worker’s right under the Workmen’s compensation. The choice of the first remedy was
Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts based on ignorance or a mistake of fact, which
under the Civil Code for higher damages (actual, nullifies the choice as it was not an intelligent choice.
moral and exemplary) from the employers by virtue of The case should therefore be remanded to the lower
the negligence or fault of the employers or whether court for further proceedings. However, should the
they may avail themselves cumulatively of both petitioners be successful in their bid before the lower
actions, i.e., collect the limited compensation under court, the payments made under the Workmen’s
the Workmen’s Compensation Act and sue in addition Compensation Act should be deducted from the
for damages in the regular courts. damages that may be decreed in their favor.
[Underscoring supplied.]
In disposing of a similar issue, this Court in Pacaña vs.
Cebu Autobus Company, 32 SCRA 442, ruled that an The ruling in Floresca providing the claimant a choice
injured worker has a choice of either to recover from of remedies was reiterated in Ysmael Maritime
the employer the fixed amounts set by the Workmen’s Corporation vs. Avelino, Vda. De Severo vs.
32

Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary civil Feliciano-Go, and Marcopper Mining Corp. vs.
33

action against the tortfeasor for higher damages but Abeleda. In the last case, the Court again recognized
34

he cannot pursue both courses of action that a claimant who had been paid under the Act could
simultaneously. [Underscoring supplied.] still sue under the Civil Code. The Court said:

Nevertheless, the Court allowed some of the In the Robles case, it was held that claims for
petitioners in said case to proceed with their suit under damages sustained by workers in the course of their
the Civil Code despite having availed of the benefits employment could be filed only under the Workmen’s
provided under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Compensation Law, to the exclusion of all further
The Court reasoned: claims under other laws. In Floresca, this doctrine was
abrogated in favor of the new rule that the claimants
With regard to the other petitioners, it was alleged by may invoke either the Workmen’s Compensation Act
Philex in its motion to dismiss dated May 14, 1968 or the provisions of the Civil Code, subject to the
before the court a quo, that the heirs of the deceased consequence that the choice of one remedy will
employees, namely Emerito Obra, Larry Villar, Jr., exclude the other and that the acceptance of
Aurelio Lanuza, Lorenzo Isla and Saturnino submitted compensation under the remedy chosen will preclude
notices and claims for compensation to the Regional a claim for additional benefits under the other
Office No. 1 of the then Department of Labor and all of remedy. The exception is where a claimant who has
them have been paid in full as of August 25, 1967, already been paid under the Workmen’s
except Saturnino Martinez whose heirs decided that Compensation Act may still sue for damages under
they be paid in installments x x x. Such allegation was the Civil Code on the basis of supervening facts or
admitted by herein petitioners in their opposition to the developments occurring after he opted for the first
motion to dismiss dated may 27, 1968 x x x in the remedy. (Underscoring supplied.)
lower court, but they set up the defense that the
claims were filed under the Workmen’s Compensation Here, the CA held that private respondent’s case
Act before they learned of the official report of the came under the exception because private
committee created to investigate the accident which respondent was unaware of petitioner’s negligence
established the criminal negligence and violation of when she filed her claim for death benefits from the
law by Philex, and which report was forwarded by the State Insurance Fund. Private respondent filed the
Director of Mines to then Executive Secretary Rafael civil complaint for damages after she received a copy
Salas in a letter dated October 19, 1967 only x x x. of the police investigation report and the Prosecutor’s
Memorandum dismissing the criminal complaint
WE hold that although the other petitioners had against petitioner’s personnel. While stating that there
received the benefits under the Workmen’s was no negligence attributable to the respondents in
Compensation Act, such my not preclude them from the complaint, the prosecutor nevertheless noted in
bringing an action before the regular court because the Memorandum that, "if at all," the "case is civil in
they became cognizant of the fact that Philex has nature." The CA thus applied the exception
been remiss in its contractual obligations with the in Floresca:
deceased miners only after receiving compensation
under the Act. Had petitioners been aware of said x x x We do not agree that appellee has knowledge of
violation of government rules and regulations by the alleged negligence of appellant as early as
November 25, 1990, the date of the police of fact. Not being an issue submitted during the trial,
investigator’s report. The appellee merely executed the trial court had no authority to hear or adjudicate
her sworn statement before the police investigator that issue."
concerning her personal circumstances, her relation to
the victim, and her knowledge of the accident. She did Petitioner also claims that private respondent could
not file the complaint for "Simple Negligence Resulting not have been ignorant of the facts because as early
to Homicide" against appellant’s employees. It was as November 28, 1990, private respondent was the
the investigator who recommended the filing of said complainant in a criminal complaint for "Simple
case and his supervisor referred the same to the Negligence Resulting to Homicide" against petitioner’s
prosecutor’s office. This is a standard operating employees. On February 6, 1991, two months before
procedure for police investigators which appellee may the filing of the action in the lower court, Prosecutor
not have even known. This may explain why no Lorna Lee issued a resolution finding that, although
complainant is mentioned in the preliminary statement there was insufficient evidence against petitioner’s
of the public prosecutor in her memorandum dated employees, the case was "civil in nature." These
February 6, 1991, to wit: "Respondent Ferdinand purportedly show that prior to her receipt of death
Fabro x x x are being charged by complainant of benefits from the ECC on January 2, 1991 and every
"Simple Negligence Resulting to Homicide." It is also month thereafter, private respondent also knew of the
possible that the appellee did not have a chance to two choices of remedies available to her and yet she
appear before the public prosecutor as can be inferred chose to claim and receive the benefits from the ECC.
from the following statement in said memorandum:
"Respondents who were notified pursuant to Law When a party having knowledge of the facts makes an
waived their rights to present controverting evidence," election between inconsistent remedies, the election
thus there was no reason for the public prosecutor to is final and bars any action, suit, or proceeding
summon the appellee. Hence, notice of appellant’s inconsistent with the elected remedy, in the absence
negligence cannot be imputed on appellee before she of fraud by the other party. The first act of election acts
applied for death benefits under ECC or before she as a bar. Equitable in nature, the doctrine of election
37

received the first payment therefrom. Her using the of remedies is designed to mitigate possible
police investigation report to support her complaint unfairness to both parties. It rests on the moral
filed on May 9, 1991 may just be an afterthought after premise that it is fair to hold people responsible for
receiving a copy of the February 6, 1991 their choices. The purpose of the doctrine is not to
Memorandum of the Prosecutor’s Office dismissing prevent any recourse to any remedy, but to prevent a
the criminal complaint for insufficiency of evidence, double redress for a single wrong.38
stating therein that: "The death of the victim is not
attributable to any negligence on the part of the The choice of a party between inconsistent remedies
respondents. If at all and as shown by the records this results in a waiver by election. Hence, the rule
case is civil in nature." (Underscoring supplied.) in Floresca that a claimant cannot simultaneously
Considering the foregoing, We are more inclined to pursue recovery under the Labor Code and prosecute
believe appellee’s allegation that she learned about an ordinary course of action under the Civil Code. The
appellant’s negligence only after she applied for and claimant, by his choice of one remedy, is deemed to
received the benefits under ECC. This is a mistake of have waived the other.
fact that will make this case fall under the exception
held in the Floresca ruling.
35
Waiver is the intentional relinquishment of
a known right.39
The CA further held that not only was private
respondent ignorant of the facts, but of her rights as [It] is an act of understanding that presupposes that a
well: party has knowledge of its rights, but chooses not to
assert them. It must be generally shown by the party
x x x. Appellee [Maria Juego] testified that she has claiming a waiver that the person against whom the
reached only elementary school for her educational waiver is asserted had at the time knowledge, actual
attainment; that she did not know what damages could or constructive, of the existence of the party’s rights or
be recovered from the death of her husband; and that of all material facts upon which they depended. Where
she did not know that she may also recover more from one lacks knowledge of a right, there is no basis upon
the Civil Code than from the ECC. x x x.36 which waiver of it can rest. Ignorance of a material fact
negates waiver, and waiver cannot be established by
Petitioner impugns the foregoing rulings. It contends a consent given under a mistake or misapprehension
that private respondent "failed to allege in her of fact.
complaint that her application and receipt of benefits
from the ECC were attended by ignorance or mistake
A person makes a knowing and intelligent waiver filed the application in her behalf on November 27,
when that person knows that a right exists and has 1990.
adequate knowledge upon which to make an
intelligent decision. There is also no showing that private respondent
knew of the remedies available to her when the claim
Waiver requires a knowledge of the facts basic to the before the ECC was filed. On the contrary, private
exercise of the right waived, with an awareness of its respondent testified that she was not aware of her
consequences. That a waiver is made knowingly and rights.
intelligently must be illustrated on the record or by the
evidence.40 Petitioner, though, argues that under Article 3 of the
Civil Code, ignorance of the law excuses no one from
That lack of knowledge of a fact that nullifies the compliance therewith. As judicial decisions applying or
election of a remedy is the basis for the exception interpreting the laws or the Constitution form part of
in Floresca. the Philippine legal system (Article 8, Civil Code),
private respondent cannot claim ignorance of this
It is in light of the foregoing principles that we address Court’s ruling in Floresca allowing a choice of
petitioner’s contentions. remedies.

Waiver is a defense, and it was not incumbent upon The argument has no merit. The application of Article
private respondent, as plaintiff, to allege in her 3 is limited to mandatory and prohibitory laws. This
42

complaint that she had availed of benefits from the may be deduced from the language of the provision,
ECC. It is, thus, erroneous for petitioner to burden which, notwithstanding a person’s ignorance, does not
private respondent with raising waiver as an issue. On excuse his or her compliance with the laws. The rule
the contrary, it is the defendant who ought to plead in Floresca allowing private respondent a choice of
waiver, as petitioner did in pages 2-3 of its Answer; 41 remedies is neither mandatory nor prohibitory.
otherwise, the defense is waived. It is, therefore, Accordingly, her ignorance thereof cannot be held
perplexing for petitioner to now contend that the trial against her.
court had no jurisdiction over the issue when petitioner
itself pleaded waiver in the proceedings before the Finally, the Court modifies the affirmance of the award
trial court. of damages. The records do not indicate the total
amount private respondent ought to receive from the
Does the evidence show that private respondent knew ECC, although it appears from Exhibit "K" that she
43

of the facts that led to her husband’s death and the received P3,581.85 as initial payment representing
rights pertaining to a choice of remedies? the accrued pension from November 1990 to March
1991. Her initial monthly pension, according to the
It bears stressing that what negates waiver is lack of same Exhibit "K," was P596.97 and present total
knowledge or a mistake of fact. In this case, the "fact" monthly pension was P716.40. Whether the total
that served as a basis for nullifying the waiver is amount she will eventually receive from the ECC is
the negligence of petitioner’s employees, of which less than the sum of P644,000.00 in total damages
private respondent purportedly learned only after the awarded by the trial court is subject to speculation,
prosecutor issued a resolution stating that there may and the case is remanded to the trial court for such
be civil liability. In Floresca, it was the negligence of determination. Should the trial court find that its award
the mining corporation and its violation of government is greater than that of the ECC, payments already
rules and regulations. Negligence, or violation of received by private respondent under the Labor Code
government rules and regulations, for that matter, shall be deducted from the trial court'’ award of
however, is not a fact, but a conclusion of law, over damages. Consistent with our ruling in Floresca, this
which only the courts have the final say. Such a adjudication aims to prevent double compensation.
conclusion binds no one until the courts have decreed
so. It appears, therefore, that the principle that WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the
ignorance or mistake of fact nullifies a waiver has Regional Trial Court of Pasig City to determine
been misapplied in Floresca and in the case at bar. whether the award decreed in its decision is more
than that of the ECC. Should the award decreed by
In any event, there is no proof that private respondent the trial court be greater than that awarded by the
knew that her husband died in the elevator crash ECC, payments already made to private respondent
when on November 15, 1990 she accomplished her pursuant to the Labor Code shall be deducted
application for benefits from the ECC. The police therefrom. In all other respects, the Decision of the
investigation report is dated November 25, 1990, 10 Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
days after the accomplishment of the form. Petitioner
SO ORDERED. was full of passengers had cargoes on top. Since it
was "running fast," she cautioned the driver to slow
G.R. No. 113003 October 17, 1997 down but he merely stared at her through the mirror.
At around 3:30 p.m., in Trento, she heard something
ALBERTA YOBIDO and CRESENCIO explode and immediately, the bus fell into a ravine.
YOBIDO, petitioners,
vs. For their part, the defendants tried to establish that the
COURT OF APPEALS, LENY TUMBOY, ARDEE accident was due to a fortuitous event. Abundio Salce,
TUMBOY and JASMIN TUMBOY, respondents. who was the bus conductor when the incident
happened, testified that the 42-seater bus was not full
as there were only 32 passengers, such that he
himself managed to get a seat. He added that the bus
ROMERO, J.: was running at a speed of "60 to 50" and that it was
going slow because of the zigzag road. He affirmed
In this petition for review on certiorari of the decision that the left front tire that exploded was a "brand new
of the Court of Appeals, the issue is whether or not the tire" that he mounted on the bus on April 21, 1988 or
explosion of a newly installed tire of a passenger only five (5) days before the incident. The Yobido
vehicle is a fortuitous event that exempts the carrier Liner secretary, Minerva Fernando, bought the new
from liability for the death of a passenger. Goodyear tire from Davao Toyo Parts on April 20,
1988 and she was present when it was mounted on
On April 26, 1988, spouses Tito and Leny Tumboy the bus by Salce. She stated that all driver applicants
and their minor children named Ardee and Jasmin, in Yobido Liner underwent actual driving tests before
bearded at Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur, a Yobido they were employed. Defendant Cresencio Yobido
Liner bus bound for Davao City. Along Picop Road in underwent such test and submitted his professional
Km. 17, Sta. Maria, Agusan del Sur, the left front tire driver's license and clearances from the barangay, the
of the bus exploded. The bus fell into a ravine around fiscal and the police.
three (3) feet from the road and struck a tree. The
incident resulted in the death of 28-year-old Tito On August 29, 1991, the lower court rendered a
Tumboy and physical injuries to other passengers. decision dismissing the action for lack of merit. On the
2

issue of whether or not the tire blowout was a caso


On November 21, 1988, a complaint for breach of fortuito, it found that "the falling of the bus to the cliff
contract of carriage, damages and attorney's fees was was a result of no other outside factor than the tire
filed by Leny and her children against Alberta Yobido, blow-out." It held that the ruling in the La Mallorca and
the owner of the bus, and Cresencio Yobido, its driver, Pampanga Bus Co. v. De Jesus that a tire blowout is
3

before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. When "a mechanical defect of the conveyance or a fault in its
the defendants therein filed their answer to the equipment which was easily discoverable if the bus
complaint, they raised the affirmative defense of caso had been subjected to a more thorough or rigid
fortuito. They also filed a third-party complaint against check-up before it took to the road that morning" is
Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. This inapplicable to this case. It reasoned out that in said
third-party defendant filed an answer with compulsory case, it was found that the blowout was caused by the
counterclaim. At the pre-trial conference, the parties established fact that the inner tube of the left front tire
agreed to a stipulation of facts.
1
"was pressed between the inner circle of the left wheel
and the rim which had slipped out of the wheel." In this
case, however, "the cause of the explosion remains a
Upon a finding that the third party defendant was not
mystery until at present." As such, the court added,
liable under the insurance contract, the lower court
the tire blowout was "a caso fortuito which is
dismissed the third party complaint. No amicable
completely an extraordinary circumstance
settlement having been arrived at by the parties, trial
independent of the will" of the defendants who should
on the merits ensued.
be relieved of "whatever liability the plaintiffs may
have suffered by reason of the explosion pursuant to
The plaintiffs asserted that violation of the contract of
Article 1174 of the Civil Code."
4

carriage between them and the defendants was


brought about by the driver's failure to exercise the
Dissatisfied, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of
diligence required of the carrier in transporting
Appeals. They ascribed to the lower court the
passengers safely to their place of destination.
following errors: (a) finding that the tire blowout was
According to Leny Tumboy, the bus left Mangagoy at
a caso fortuito; (b) failing to hold that the defendants
3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. The winding road it
did not exercise utmost and/or extraordinary diligence
traversed was not cemented and was wet due to the
required of carriers under Article 1755 of the Civil
rain; it was rough with crushed rocks. The bus which
Code, and (c) deciding the case contrary to the ruling ruling contrary to that of the lower court,
in Juntilla v. Fontanar, and Necesito v. Paras.
5 6
misapprehended facts and, therefore, its findings of
fact cannot be considered final which shall bind this
On August 23, 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered Court. Hence, they pray that this Court review the
the Decision reversing that of the lower court. It held
7 facts of the case.
that:
The Court did re-examine the facts and evidence in
To Our mind, the explosion of the tire is not in itself a this case because of the inapplicability of the
fortuitous event. The cause of the blow-out, if due to a established principle that the factual findings of the
factory defect, improper mounting, excessive tire Court of Appeals are final and may not be reviewed on
pressure, is not an unavoidable event. On the other appeal by this Court. This general principle is subject
hand, there may have been adverse conditions on the to exceptions such as the one present in this case,
road that were unforeseeable and/or inevitable, which namely, that the lower court and the Court of Appeals
could make the blow-out a caso fortuito. The fact that arrived at diverse factual findings. However, upon
8

the cause of the blow-out was not known does not such re-examination, we found no reason to overturn
relieve the carrier of liability. Owing to the statutory the findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals.
presumption of negligence against the carrier and its
obligation to exercise the utmost diligence of very As a rule, when a passenger boards a common carrier,
cautious persons to carry the passenger safely as far he takes the risks incidental to the mode of travel he
as human care and foresight can provide, it is the has taken. After all, a carrier is not an insurer of the
burden of the defendants to prove that the cause of safety of its passengers and is not bound absolutely
the blow-out was a fortuitous event. It is not incumbent and at all events to carry them safely and without
upon the plaintiff to prove that the cause of the injury. However, when a passenger is injured or dies
9

blow-out is not caso-fortuito. while travelling, the law presumes that the common
carrier is negligent. Thus, the Civil Code provides:
Proving that the tire that exploded is a new Goodyear
tire is not sufficient to discharge defendants' burden. Art. 1756. In case of death or injuries to passengers,
As enunciated in Necesito vs. Paras, the passenger common carriers are presumed to have been at fault
has neither choice nor control over the carrier in the or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that
selection and use of its equipment, and the good they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in
repute of the manufacturer will not necessarily relieve articles 1733 and 1755.
the carrier from liability.
Article 1755 provides that "(a) common carrier is
Moreover, there is evidence that the bus was moving bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human
fast, and the road was wet and rough. The driver could care and foresight can provide, using the utmost
have explained that the blow-out that precipitated the diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard
accident that caused the death of Toto Tumboy could for all the circumstances." Accordingly, in culpa
not have been prevented even if he had exercised due contractual, once a passenger dies or is injured, the
care to avoid the same, but he was not presented as carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have
witness. acted negligently. This disputable presumption may
only be overcome by evidence that the carrier had
The Court of Appeals thus disposed of the appeal as observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed by
follows: Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 of the Civil Code or
10

that the death or injury of the passenger was due to a


WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo is set fortuitous event. Consequently, the court need not
11

aside and another one entered ordering defendants to make an express finding of fault or negligence on the
pay plaintiffs the sum of P50,000.00 for the death of part of the carrier to hold it responsible for damages
Tito Tumboy, P30,000.00 in moral damages, and sought by the passenger. 12

P7,000.00 for funeral and burial expenses.


In view of the foregoing, petitioners' contention that
SO ORDERED. they should be exempt from liability because the tire
blowout was no more than a fortuitous event that
The defendants filed a motion for reconsideration of could not have been foreseen, must fail. A fortuitous
said decision which was denied on November 4, 1993 event is possessed of the following characteristics: (a)
by the Court of Appeals. Hence, the instant petition the cause of the unforeseen and unexpected
asserting the position that the tire blowout that caused occurrence, or the failure of the debtor to comply with
the death of Tito Tumboy was a caso fortuito. his obligations, must be independent of human will; (b)
Petitioners claim further that the Court of Appeals, in it must be impossible to foresee the event which
constitutes the caso fortuito, or if it can be foreseen, it precautionary measures considering partially
must be impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must dangerous condition of the road. As stated above,
be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to proof that the tire was new and of good quality is not
fulfill his obligation in a normal manner; and (d) the sufficient proof that it was not negligent. Petitioners
obliger must be free from any participation in the should have shown that it undertook extraordinary
aggravation of the injury resulting to the creditor. As
13
diligence in the care of its carrier, such as conducting
Article 1174 provides, no person shall be responsible daily routinary check-ups of the vehicle's parts. As the
for a fortuitous event which could not be foreseen, or late Justice J.B.L. Reyes said:
which, though foreseen, was inevitable. In other words,
there must be an entire exclusion of human agency It may be impracticable, as appellee argues, to require
from the cause of injury or loss. 14
of carriers to test the strength of each and every part
of its vehicles before each trip; but we are of the
Under the circumstances of this case, the explosion of opinion that a due regard for the carrier's obligations
the new tire may not be considered a fortuitous event. toward the traveling public demands adequate
There are human factors involved in the situation. The periodical tests to determine the condition and
fact that the tire was new did not imply that it was strength of those vehicle portions the failure of which
entirely free from manufacturing defects or that it was may endanger the safety of the passengers. 18

properly mounted on the vehicle. Neither may the fact


that the tire bought and used in the vehicle is of a Having failed to discharge its duty to overthrow the
brand name noted for quality, resulting in the presumption of negligence with clear and convincing
conclusion that it could not explode within five days' evidence, petitioners are hereby held liable for
use. Be that as it may, it is settled that an accident damages. Article 1764 in relation to Article 2206 of
19 20

caused either by defects in the automobile or through the Civil Code prescribes the amount of at least three
the negligence of its driver is not a caso fortuito that thousand pesos as damages for the death of a
would exempt the carrier from liability for damages. 15
passenger. Under prevailing jurisprudence, the award
of damages under Article 2206 has been increased to
Moreover, a common carrier may not be absolved fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00). 21

from liability in case of force majeure or fortuitous


event alone. The common carrier must still prove that Moral damages are generally not recoverable in culpa
it was not negligent in causing the death or injury contractual except when bad faith had been proven.
resulting from an accident. This Court has had
16
However, the same damages may be recovered when
occasion to state: breach of contract of carriage results in the death of a
passenger, as in this case. Exemplary damages,
22

While it may be true that the tire that blew-up was still awarded by way of example or correction for the
good because the grooves of the tire were still visible, public good when moral damages are awarded, may 23

this fact alone does not make the explosion of the tire likewise be recovered in contractual obligations if the
a fortuitous event. No evidence was presented to defendant acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
show that the accident was due to adverse road oppressive, or malevolent manner. Because
24

conditions or that precautions were taken by the petitioners failed to exercise the extraordinary
jeepney driver to compensate for any conditions liable diligence required of a common carrier, which resulted
to cause accidents. The sudden blowing-up, therefore, in the death of Tito Tumboy, it is deemed to have
could have been caused by too much air pressure acted recklessly. As such, private respondents shall
25

injected into the tire coupled by the fact that the be entitled to exemplary damages.
jeepney was overloaded and speeding at the time of
the accident.17
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is
hereby AFFIRMED subject to the modification that
It is interesting to note that petitioners proved through petitioners shall, in addition to the monetary awards
the bus conductor, Salce, that the bus was running at therein, be liable for the award of exemplary damages
"60-50" kilometers per hour only or within the in the amount of P20,000.00. Costs against
prescribed lawful speed limit. However, they failed to petitioners.
rebut the testimony of Leny Tumboy that the bus was
running so fast that she cautioned the driver to slow SO ORDERED.
down. These contradictory facts must, therefore, be
resolved in favor of liability in view of the presumption
of negligence of the carrier in the law. Coupled with
this is the established condition of the road — rough,
winding and wet due to the rain. It was incumbent
upon the defense to establish that it took