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[68] GUINGON v.

DEL MONTE, 20 SCRA 1043 FACTS


G.R. No. L-22042; August 17, 1967; Bengzon, J.  Julio Aguilar owned and operated several jeepneys in Manila among
which was one with plate number PUJ-206-Manila, 1961. He entered
TOPIC: THIRD PARTY LIABILITY into a contract with the Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc. insuring
the operation of his jeepneys against accidents with third-party
SUMMARY liability.
Julio Aguilar was the owner and operator of several jeepneys. He  During the effectivity of such insurance policy on February 20, 1961
insured them with Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc. On February Iluminado del Monte, one of the drivers of the jeepneys operated by
20, 1961, along the intersection of Juan Luna and Moro streets, City Aguilar, while driving along he, bumped one Gervacio Guingon who
of Manila, the jeepneys operated by Aguilar driven by Iluminado del had just alighted from another jeepney and as a consequence the
Monte and Gervacio Guingon bumped. Guingon died some days latter died some days thereafter.
after. Iluminado del Monte was charged with homicide through  A corresponding information for homicide thru reckless imprudence
reckless imprudence and was penalized 4 months of imprisonment. was filed against Iluminado del Monte, who pleaded guilty. A penalty
The heirs of Gervacio Guingon filed an action for damages praying of four months of imprisonment was imposed on him.
that P82,771.80 be paid to them jointly and severally by the driver  The heirs of Gervacio Guingon filed an action for damages praying
del Monte, owner and operator Aguilar, and the Capital Insurance & that the sum of P82,771.80 be paid to them jointly and severally by
Surety Co., Inc. CFI: Iluminado del Monte and Julio Aguilar jointly the defendants, driver Iluminado del Monte, owner and operator Julio
and severally to pay plaintiffs the sum of P8,572.95 as damages for Aguilar, and the Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc.
the death of their father, plus P1,000.00 for attorney's fees plus costs.  For failure to answer the complaint, Del Monte and Aguilar were
Capital Insurance and Surety Co., Inc. is hereby sentenced to pay declared in default. Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc. answered,
P5,000 plus P500 as attorney's fees and costs to be applied in partial alleging that the plaintiff has no cause of action against it.
satisfaction of the judgment rendered against Iluminado del Monte  CFI: ruled in favour of the Guingons and held Iluminado del Monte
and Julio Aguilar in this case. SC: affirmed CFI decision in toto. and Julio Aguilar jointly and severally to pay plaintiffs the sum of
P8,572.95 as damages for the death of their father, plus P1,000.00
DOCTRINE for attorney's fees plus costs. The case was appealed to the CA but
 Policy (in this case): the insurer agreed to indemnify the was certified to the SC because the issue involved purely questions
insured "against all sums . . . which the Insured shall become of law.
legally liable to pay in respect of: a.) death of or bodily injury to
any person . . ." – indemnity against liability ISSUE(S)/HELD
 TEST: Where the contract provides for indemnity against liability [1] Can the Heirs of Guingon sue the insurer (Del Monte) at all? – YES
to third persons, then third persons to whom the insured is liable,  The policy in the present case, as aforequoted, is one whereby the
CAN sue the insurer. Where the contract is for indemnity against insurer agreed to indemnify the insured "against all sums . . . which
actual loss or payment, then third persons CANNOT proceed the Insured shall become legally liable to pay in respect of: a. death
against the insurer, the contract being solely to reimburse the of or bodily injury to any person . . ."
insured for liability actually discharged by him thru payment to  Clearly, therefore, it is one for indemnity against liability; from the fact
third persons, said third persons' recourse being thus limited to then that the insured is liable to the third person, such third person is
the insured alone. entitled to sue the insurer.
 The right of the person injured to sue the insurer of the party at fault
RELEVANT PROVISION(S) (insured), depends on whether the contract of insurance is intended
to benefit third persons also or only the insured.
 The test applied has been this:
o Where the contract provides for indemnity against liability to
third persons, then third persons to whom the insured is
liable, can sue the insurer.
o Where the contract is for indemnity against actual loss or
payment, then third persons cannot proceed against the
insurer, the contract being solely to reimburse the insured
for liability actually discharged by him through payment to
third persons, said third persons' recourse being thus
limited to the insured alone.

[2] If so, can plaintiffs sue the insurer jointly with the insured, regardless
of the existence of the clause that suit and final judgment be first
obtained against the insured in order to claim? – YES
 Policy: expressly disallows suing the insurer as a co-defendant of the
insured in a suit to determine the latter's liability.
 The "no action" clause in the policy of insurance cannot prevail over
the Rules of Court provision aimed at avoiding multiplicity of suits.
 The Rules of Court provides that:
o Sec. 5 of Rule 2 on "Joinder of causes of action" and Sec.
6 of Rule 3 on "Permissive joinder of parties" cannot be
superseded, at least with respect to third persons not a
party to the contract, as herein, by a "no action" clause in
the contract of insurance.

RULING

DISPOSITIVE: affirmed CFI decision in toto.