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MARIA TERESA Y. CUADRA, minor represented by her

father ULISES P. CUADRA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.ALFONSO MONFORT, defendant-appellant.
G.R. No. L-24101
September 30, 1970


Maria Teresa Cuadra, 12, and Maria Teresa Monfort, 13,
were classmates in Grade Six at the Mabini Elementary
School in Bacolod City. On July 9, 1962 their teacher
assigned them, together with three other classmates, to
weed the grass in the school premises. While thus engaged
Maria Teresa Monfort found a plastic headband, an
ornamental object commonly worn by young girls over their
hair. Jokingly she said aloud that she had found an
earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed
the object at her. At that precise moment the latter turned
around to face her friend, and the object hit her right eye.
Smarting from the pain, she rubbed the injured part and
treated it with some powder. The next day, July 10, the eye
became swollen and it was then that the girl related the
incident to her parents, who thereupon took her to a doctor
for treatment. She underwent surgical operation twice, first
on July 20 and again on August 4, 1962, and stayed in the
hospital for a total of twenty-three days, for all of which the
parents spent the sum of P1,703.75. Despite the medical
efforts, however, Maria Teresa Cuadra completely lost the
sight of her right eye.
In the civil suit subsequently instituted by the parents in
behalf of their minor daughter against Alfonso Monfort,
Maria Teresa Monfort's father, the defendant was ordered to
pay P1,703.00 as actual damages; P20,000.00 as moral
damages; and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees, plus the costs of
the suit.

ISSUE: Liability of a parent for an act of his minor child
which causes damage to another under the specific facts
related above and the applicable provisions of the Civil Code

In the present case there is nothing from which it may be
inferred that the defendant could have prevented the
damage by the observance of due care, or that he was in
any way remiss in the exercise of his parental authority in
failing to foresee such damage, or the act which caused it.
On the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his
duty to send her and where she was, as he had the right to
expect her to be, under the care and supervision of the
teacher. And as far as the act which caused the injury was
concerned, it was an innocent prank not unusual among
children at play and which no parent, however careful,
would have any special reason to anticipate much less guard
against. Nor did it reveal any mischievous propensity, or
indeed any trait in the child's character which would reflect
unfavorably on her upbringing and for which the blame
could be attributed to her parents.
The victim, no doubt, deserves no little commiseration and
sympathy for the tragedy that befell her. But if the
defendant is at all obligated to compensate her suffering,
the obligation has no legal sanction enforceable in court, but
only the moral compulsion of good conscience.
APPEALS, et al
G.R. No. 85044
June 3, 1992


On 20 October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10
years of age, shot Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle causing
injuries which resulted in her death. Accordingly, a civil
complaint for damages was filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 20, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, docketed as Civil Case
No. 3457-V, by petitioner Macario Tamargo, Jennifer's
adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia
Tamargo, Jennifer's natural parents against respondent
spouses Victor and Clara Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents
with whom he was living at the time of the tragic incident.
In addition to this case for damages, a criminal information
or Homicide through Reckless Imprudence was filed
[Criminal Case No. 1722-V] against Adelberto Bundoc.
Adelberto, however, was acquitted and exempted from
criminal liability on the ground that he bad acted without
Prior to the incident, or on 10 December 1981, the spouses
Sabas and Felisa Rapisura had filed a petition to adopt the
minor Adelberto Bundoc in Special Proceedings No. 0373-T
before the then Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. This
petition for adoption was grunted on, 18 November 1982,
that is, after Adelberto had shot and killed Jennifer.

Petitioners once again contend that respondent spouses
Bundoc are the indispensable parties to the action for
damages caused by the acts of their minor child

ISSUE: whether or not the effects of adoption, insofar as
parental authority is concerned may be given retroactive
effect so as to make the adopting parents the indispensable
parties in a damage case filed against their adopted child,
for acts committed by the latter, when actual custody was
yet lodged with the biological parents.

It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of
shooting Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle gave rise to a
cause of action on quasi-delict against him. As Article 2176
of the Civil Code provides:
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another,
there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a

The law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in case of
his death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that
may be caused by a minor child who lives with them. Article

This principle of parental liability is a species of what is
frequently designated as vicarious liability, or the doctrine of
"imputed negligence"

Not only liable for torts committed by himself, but also for
torts committed by others with whom he has a certain
relationship and for whom he is responsible. Thus, parental
liability is made a natural or logical consequence of the
duties and responsibilities of parents their parental
authority which includes the instructing, controlling and
disciplining of the child.

The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their
minor children living with them, may be seen to be based
upon the parental authority vested by the Civil Code upon
such parents. The civil law assumes that when an
unemancipated child living with its parents commits a
tortious acts, the parents were negligent in the performance
of their legal and natural duty closely to supervise the child
who is in their custody and control.

In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto
with an air rifle occured when parental authority was still
lodged in respondent Bundoc spouses, the natural parents of
the minor Adelberto. It would thus follow that the natural
parents who had then actual custody of the minor Adelberto,
are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages.


We do not believe that parental authority is properly
regarded as having been retroactively transferred to and
vested in the adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, at the
time the air rifle shooting happened. We do not consider
that retroactive effect may be giver to the decree of
adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting
parents accruing at a time when adopting parents had no
actual or physically custody over the adopted child.
Retroactive affect may perhaps be given to the granting of
the petition for adoption where such is essential to permit
the accrual of some benefit or advantage in favor of the
adopted child. In the instant case, however, to hold that
parental authority had been retroactively lodged in the
Rapisura spouses so as to burden them with liability for a
tortious act that they could not have foreseen and which
they could not have prevented (since they were at the time
in the United States and had no physical custody over the
child Adelberto) would be unfair and unconscionable.

Respondent Bundoc spouses, Adelberto's natural parents,
were indispensable parties to the suit for damages brought
by petitioners


FACTS: Since about 1976, minors Julie Ann Gotiong and
Wendell Libi were lovers. In December 1978, Julie Ann
decided to break up with Wendell because the latter has
violent tendencies. Julie Ann refused to give Wendell his
second chance. On January 14, 1979, both minors were
found dead inside Julie Anns house. Both were only 18
years of age (age of majority that time was 21).

Apparently, Wendell used his fathers gun to kill Julie Ann
and then later he committed suicide.

The parents of Julie Ann (Felipe and Shirley Gotiong) then
filed a civil case for recovery of damages based on Article
2180 of the Civil Code against the parents of Wendell
(Cresencio and Amelia Libi).

ISSUE: Whether or not the parents of Wendell are civilly

HELD: Yes. It was determined from the evidence adduced
that the Libis had been negligent in safekeeping their gun.
Wendell gained access to the gun in 1978 and the Libis did
not know that their son had possession of said gun. They
only found out about it when the shooting happened.
Further, they were not even aware that their son is a drug
informant of the local Constabulary (police force at that
time). Clearly, the parents were negligent and were not
acting with the diligence required by law (that of a good
father of a family) in making sure that their minor children
shall not cause damages against other persons.

What is the nature of their liability?
In this case, the Supreme Court also clarified that the nature
of the liability of parents in cases like this is not merely
subsidiary. Their liability is primary. This is whether or not
what the damage caused by their minor child arose from
quasi-delict or from a criminal act. This is also the reason
why parents can avoid liability if they will be able to show
that they have acted with the diligence required by law
because if their liability is merely subsidiary, they can never
pose the defense of diligence of a good father of a family.

VICTORIA S. INTON on their behalf and on
behalf of their minor child
G.R. No. 184202
January 26, 2011


Respondent Jose Luis Inton (Jose Luis) was a grade three
student at Aquinas School (Aquinas). Respondent Sister
Margarita Yamyamin (Yamyamin), a religion teacher

While Yamyamin was writing on the blackboard, Jose Luis
left his assigned seat and went over to a classmate to play a
joke of surprising him. Yamyamin noticed this and sent Jose
Luis back to his seat. After a while, Jose Luis got up again
and went over to the same classmate. This time, unable to
tolerate the childs behavior, Yamyamin approached Jose
Luis and kicked him on the legs several times. She also
pulled and shoved his head on the classmates seat. Finally,
she told the child to stay where he was on that spot of the
room and finish copying the notes on the blackboard while
seated on the floor.

As a result of the incident, respondents Jose and Victoria
Inton (the Intons) filed an action for damages on behalf of
their son Jose Luis against Yamyamin and Aquinas before
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City

ISSUE: whether or not the CA was correct in holding
Aquinas solidarily liable with Yamyamin for the damages
awarded to Jose Luis.

HELD: The CA found Aquinas liable to Jose Luis based on
Article 2180 of the Civil Code upon the CAs belief that the
school was Yamyamins employer.

Four-fold test to determine the existence of an
employer-employee relationship: the employer
(a) selects and engages the employee;
(b) pays his wages;
(c) has power to dismiss him; and
(d) has control over his work.

Of these, the most crucial is the element of control. Control
refers to the right of the employer, whether actually
exercised or reserved, to control the work of the employee
as well as the means and methods by which he
accomplishes the same.

Aquinas still had the responsibility of taking steps to ensure
that only qualified outside catechists are allowed to teach its
young students. In this regard, it cannot be said that
Aquinas took no steps to avoid the occurrence of improper
conduct towards the students by their religion teacher.
a. First, Yamyamins transcript of records, certificates,
and diplomas showed that she was qualified to
teach religion.
b. Second, there is no question that Aquinas
ascertained that Yamyamin came from a legitimate
religious congregation of sisters and that, given her
Christian training, the school had reason to assume
that she would behave properly towards the
c. Third, the school gave Yamyamin a copy of the
schools Administrative Faculty Staff Manual that set
the standards for handling students. It also
required her to attend a teaching orientation before
she was allowed to teach beginning that June of
d. Fourth, the school pre-approved the content of the
course she was to teach to ensure that she was
really catechizing the students.
e. And fifth, the school had a program for subjecting
Yamyamin to classroom evaluation

Unfortunately, since she was new and it was just the start of
the school year, Aquinas did not have sufficient opportunity
to observe her methods. At any rate, it acted promptly to
relieve her of her assignment as soon as the school learned
of the incident.

It cannot be said that Aquinas was guilty of outright neglect.


APPEALS, et al
G.R. No. L-47745
April 15, 1988


Commencement exercises

On April 13, 1972, while they were in the auditorium of their
school, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, a classmate,
Pablito Damon, fired a gun that mortally hit Alfredo, ending
all his expectations and his life as well. The victim was only
seventeen years old.

Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence .
Additionally, the herein petitioners, as the victim's parents,
filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of the Civil
Code against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector
the high school principal, the dean of boys, and the physics
teacher, together with Daffon and two other students,
through their respective parents.

The complaint against the students was later dropped.

The Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos has been directly
impleaded and is sought to be held liable under Article 2180;
and unlike in Palisoc, it is not a school of arts and trades but
an academic institution of learning. The parties herein have
also directly raised the question of whether or not Article
2180 covers even establishments which are technically not
schools of arts and trades, and, if so, when the offending
student is supposed to be "in its custody."
After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court
has come to the conclusion that the provision in question
should apply to all schools, academic as well as non-
academic. Where the school is academic rather than
technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort
committed by the student will attach to the teacher in
charge of such student, following the first part of the
provision. This is the general rule. In the case of
establishments of arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and
only he, who shall be held liable as an exception to the
general rule. In other words, teachers in general shall be
liable for the acts of their students except where the school
is technical in nature, in which case it is the head thereof
who shall be answerable. Following the canon of reddendo
singula singulis "teachers" should apply to the words "pupils
and students" and "heads of establishments of arts and
trades" to the word "apprentices."

There is really no substantial distinction between the
academic and the non-academic schools insofar as torts
committed by their students are concerned. The same
vigilance is expected from the teacher over the students
under his control and supervision, whatever the nature of
the school where he is teaching.

As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school
premises in pursuance of a legitimate student objective, in
the exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the
enjoyment of a legitimate student right, and even in the
enjoyment of a legitimate student privilege, the
responsibility of the school authorities over the student
continues. Indeed, even if the student should be doing
nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the company of
his classmates and friends and enjoying the ambience and
atmosphere of the school, he is still within the custody and
subject to the discipline of the school authorities under the
provisions of Article 2180.
During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-
charge who must answer for his students' torts, in practically
the same way that the parents are responsible for the child
when he is in their custody. The teacher-in-charge is the one
designated by the dean, principal, or other administrative
superior to exercise supervision over the pupils in the
specific classes or sections to which they are assigned. It is
not necessary that at the time of the injury, the teacher be
physically present and in a position to prevent it. Custody
does not connote immediate and actual physical control but
refers more to the influence exerted on the child and the
discipline instilled in him as a result of such influence. Thus,
for the injuries caused by the student, the teacher and not
the parent shag be held responsible if the tort was
committed within the premises of the school at any time
when its authority could be validly exercised over him.

In this connection, it should be observed that the teacher
will be held liable not only when he is acting in loco parentis
for the law does not require that the offending student be of
minority age. Unlike the parent, who wig be liable only if his
child is still a minor, the teacher is held answerable by the
law for the act of the student under him regardless of the
student's age.

The school can show that it exercised proper measures in
selecting the head or its teachers and the appropriate
supervision over them in the custody and instruction of the
pupils pursuant to its rules and regulations for the
maintenance of discipline among them.

a. Even the mere savoring of the company of his
friends in the premises of the school is a
legitimate purpose that would have also brought
him in the custody of the school authorities.
b. The mere fact that Alfredo Amadora had gone to
school that day in connection with his physics
report did not necessarily make the physics
teacher, respondent Celestino Dicon, the teacher-
in-charge of Alfredo's killer.
c. Assuming that he was the teacher-in-charge,
there is no showing that Dicon was negligent in
enforcing discipline upon Daffon or that he had
waived observance of the rules and regulations of
the school or condoned their non-observance.
d. While this was clearly negligence on his part, for
which he deserves sanctions from the school, it
does not necessarily link him to the shooting of
Amador as it has not been shown that he
confiscated and returned pistol was the gun that
killed the petitioners' son.
e. the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos cannot be held
directly liable under the article because only the
teacher or the head of the school of arts and
trades is made responsible for the damage
caused by the student or apprentice. Neither can
it be held to answer for the tort committed by any
of the other private respondents for none of them
has been found to have been charged with the
custody of the offending student or has been
remiss in the discharge of his duties in connection
with such custody.

SC: Under the facts as disclosed by the record and in the
light of the principles herein announced that none of the
respondents is liable for the injury inflicted by Pablito Damon
on Alfredo Amadora that resulted in the latter's death at the

ST. MARYS ACADEMY, petitioner, vs. WILLIAM
CARPITANOS, et al, respondents
G.R. No. 143363
February 6, 2002


from 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St. Marys
Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for
the school year 1995-1996. A facet of the enrollment
campaign was the visitation of schools from where
prospective enrollees were studying. As a student of St.
Marys Academy, Sherwin Carpitanos was part of the
campaigning group. Accordingly, on the fateful day,
Sherwin, along with other high school students were riding
in a Mitsubishi jeep owned by defendant Vivencio Villanueva
on their way to Larayan Elementary School, Larayan,
Dapitan City. The jeep was driven by James Daniel II then
15 years old and a student of the same school. Allegedly,
the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner and as a
result the jeep turned turtle. Sherwin Carpitanos died as a
result of the injuries he sustained from the accident
ISSUE: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the
petitioner liable for damages for the death of Sherwin
HELD: We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall
have special parental authority over a minor child while
under their supervision, instruction or custody: (1) the
school, its administrators and teachers; or (2) the individual,
entity or institution engaged in child care. This special
parental authority and responsibility applies to all authorized
activities, whether inside or outside the premises of the
school, entity or institution. Thus, such authority and
responsibility applies to field trips, excursions and other
affairs of the pupils and students outside the school
premises whenever authorized by the school or its teachers.
Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under
custody is a minor, those exercising special parental
authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages
caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor
while under their supervision, instruction, or custody.
However, for petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding
that the act or omission considered as negligent was the
proximate cause of the injury caused because the negligence
must have a causal connection to the accident.
In this case, the respondents failed to show that the
negligence of petitioner was the proximate cause of the
death of the victim.
Liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence
of the minor driver or mechanical detachment of the steering
wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the minors
parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys
Academy was only a remote cause of the accident. Between
the remote cause and the injury, there intervened the
negligence of the minors parents or the detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep.
Incidentally, there was no question that the registered
owner of the vehicle was respondent Villanueva. He never
denied and in fact admitted this fact. We have held that the
registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public
service, would primarily be responsible to the public or to
third persons for injuries caused the latter while the vehicle
was being driven on the highways or streets.[17] Hence,
with the overwhelming evidence presented by petitioner and
the respondent Daniel spouses that the accident occurred
because of the detachment of the steering wheel guide of
the jeep, it is not the school, but the registered owner of the
vehicle who shall be held responsible for damages for the
death of Sherwin Carpitanos
COMMERCIAL, INC., respondents.
G.R. No. 115024
February 7, 1996
At around 2:00 in the morning of June 24, 1990, plaintiff Ma.
Lourdes Valenzuela was driving a blue Mitsubishi lancer with
Plate No. FFU 542 from her restaurant at Marcos highway to
her home at Palanza Street, Araneta Avenue. She was
travelling along Aurora Blvd. with a companion, Cecilia
Ramon, heading towards the direction of Manila. Before
reaching A. Lake Street, she noticed something wrong with
her tires; she stopped at a lighted place where there were
people, to verify whether she had a flat tire and to solicit
help if needed. Having been told by the people present that
her rear right tire was flat and that she cannot reach her
home in that cars condition, she parked along the sidewalk,
about 1 feet away, put on her emergency lights, alighted
from the car, and went to the rear to open the trunk. She
was standing at the left side of the rear of her car pointing
to the tools to a man who will help her fix the tire when she
was suddenly bumped by a 1987 Mitsubishi Lancer driven by
defendant Richard Li and registered in the name of
defendant Alexander Commercial, Inc. Because of the
impact plaintiff was thrown against the windshield of the car
of the defendant, which was destroyed, and then fell to the
ground. She was pulled out from under defendants car.
Plaintiffs left leg was severed up to the middle of her thigh,
with only some skin and sucle connected to the rest of the
body. She was brought to the UERM Medical Memorial
Center where she was found to have a traumatic
amputation, leg, left up to distal thigh (above knee). She
was confined in the hospital for twenty (20) days and was
eventually fitted with an artificial leg. The expenses for the
hospital confinement (P 120,000.00) and the cost of the
artificial leg (P27,000.00) were paid by defendants from the
car insurance.
He was on his way home, travelling at 55 kph; considering
that it was raining, visibility was affected and the road was
wet. Traffic was light. He testified that he was driving along
the inner portion of the right lane of Aurora Blvd. towards
the direction of Araneta Avenue, when he was suddenly
confronted, in the vicinity of A. Lake Street, San Juan, with a
car coming from the opposite direction, travelling at 80 kph,
with full bright lights. Temporarily blinded, he instinctively
swerved to the right to avoid colliding with the oncoming
vehicle, and bumped plaintiffs car, which he did not see
because it was midnight blue in color, with no parking lights
or early warning device, and the area was poorly lighted. He
alleged in his defense that the left rear portion of plaintiffs
car was protruding as it was then at a standstill diagonally
on the outer portion of the right lane towards Araneta
Avenue (par. 18, Answer). He confirmed the testimony of
plaintiffs witness that after being bumped the car of the
plaintiff swerved to the right and hit another car parked on
the sidewalk. Defendants counterclaimed for damages,
alleging that plaintiff was reckless or negligent, as she was
not a licensed driver.
Both parties assail the respondent courts decision by filing
two separate petitions before this Court. Richard Li, in G.R.
No. 117944, contends that he should not be held liable for
damages because the proximate cause of the accident was
Ma. Lourdes Valenzuelas own negligence. Alternatively, he
argues that in the event that this Court finds him negligent,
such negligence ought to be mitigated by the contributory
negligence of Valenzuela.
On the other hand, in G.R. No. 115024, Ma. Lourdes
Valenzuela assails the respondent courts decision insofar as
it absolves Alexander Commercial, Inc. from liability as the
owner of the car driven by Richard Li and insofar as it
reduces the amount of the actual and moral damages
awarded by the trial court
ISSUE: Whether or not Valenzuela was likewise guilty of
contributory negligence in parking her car alongside Aurora
Boulevard, which entire area Li points out, is a no parking
HELD: We agree with the respondent court that Valenzuela
was not guilty of contributory negligence.
Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured
party, contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has
suffered, which falls below the standard to which he is
required to conform for his own protection.
Under the emergency rule adopted by this Court in Gan vs
Court of Appeals, an individual who suddenly finds himself in
a situation of danger and is required to act without much
time to consider the best means that may be adopted to
avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of negligence if he
fails to undertake what subsequently and upon reflection
may appear to be a better solution, unless the emergency
was brought by his own negligence
A woman driving a vehicle suddenly crippled by a flat tire on
a rainy night will not be faulted for stopping at a point which
is both convenient for her to do so and which is not a hazard
to other motorists. She is not expected to run the entire
boulevard in search for a parking zone or turn on a dark
Street or alley where she would likely find no one to help
her. It would be hazardous for her not to stop and assess
the emergency (simply because the entire length of Aurora
Boulevard is a no-parking zone) because the hobbling
vehicle would be both a threat to her safety and to other
motorists. In the instant case, Valenzuela, upon reaching
that portion of Aurora Boulevard close to A. Lake St., noticed
that she had a flat tire
Valenzuela did exercise the standard reasonably dictated by
the emergency and could not be considered to have
contributed to the unfortunate circumstances which
eventually led to the amputation of one of her lower
extremities. The emergency which led her to park her car on
a sidewalk in Aurora Boulevard was not of her own making,
and it was evident that she had taken all reasonable
We agree with the respondent court that the relationship in
question is not based on the principle of respondeat
superior, which holds the master liable for acts of the
servant, but that of pater familias, in which the liability
ultimately falls upon the employer, for his failure to exercise
the diligence of a good father of the family in the selection
and supervision of his employees. It is up to this point,
however, that our agreement with the respondent court
ends. Utilizing the bonus pater familias standard expressed
in Article 2180 of the Civil Code,[28] we are of the opinion
that Lis employer, Alexander Commercial, Inc. is jointly and
solidarily liable for the damage caused by the accident of
June 24, 1990.
G.R. No. L-12986
March 31, 1966
A fire broke out at the Caltex service station at the corner of
Antipolo street and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started while
gasoline was being hosed from a tank truck into the
underground storage, right at the opening of the receiving
tank where the nozzle of the hose was inserted. The fire
spread to and burned several neighboring houses, including
the personal properties and effects inside them. Their
owners, among them petitioners here, sued respondents
Caltex (Phil.), Inc. and Mateo Boquiren, the first as alleged
owner of the station and the second as its agent in charge of
operation. Negligence on the part of both of them was
attributed as the cause of the fire.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that
petitioners failed to prove negligence and that respondents
had exercised due care in the premises and with respect to
the supervision of their employees.
These facts are:
(1) Boquiren made an admission that he was an
agent of Caltex;
(2) at the time of the fire Caltex owned the gasoline
station and all the equipment therein;
(3) Caltex exercised control over Boquiren in the
management of the state;
(4) the delivery truck used in delivering gasoline to
the station had the name of CALTEX painted on
it; and
(5) the license to store gasoline at the station was in
the name of Caltex, which paid the license fees.
ISSUE: whether Caltex should be held liable for the
damages caused to appellants (This issue depends on
whether Boquiren was an independent contractor, as held by
the Court of Appeals, or an agent of Caltex)
Caltex did not present any contract with Boquiren that would
reveal the nature of their relationship at the time of the fire.
There must have been one in existence at that time.
Instead, what was presented was a license agreement
manifestly tailored for purposes of this case, since it was
entered into shortly before the expiration of the one-year
period it was intended to operate.
But even if the license agreement were to govern, Boquiren
can hardly be considered an independent contractor. Under
that agreement Boquiren would pay Caltex the purely
nominal sum of P1.00 for the use of the premises and all the
equipment therein. He could sell only Caltex Products.
Maintenance of the station and its equipment was subject to
the approval, in other words control, of Caltex. Boquiren
could not assign or transfer his rights as licensee without the
consent of Caltex. The license agreement was supposed to
be from January 1, 1948 to December 31, 1948, and
thereafter until terminated by Caltex upon two days prior
written notice. Caltex could at any time cancel and terminate
the agreement in case Boquiren ceased to sell Caltex
products, or did not conduct the business with due diligence,
in the judgment of Caltex. Termination of the contract was
therefore a right granted only to Caltex but not to Boquiren.
These provisions of the contract show the extent of the
control of Caltex over Boquiren. The control was such that
the latter was virtually an employee of the former.
Taking into consideration the fact that the operator owed his
position to the company and the latter could remove him or
terminate his services at will; that the service station
belonged to the company and bore its tradename and the
operator sold only the products of the company; that the
equipment used by the operator belonged to the company
and were just loaned to the operator and the company took
charge of their repair and maintenance; that an employee of
the company supervised the operator and conducted
periodic inspection of the company's gasoline and service
station; that the price of the products sold by the operator
was fixed by the company and not by the operator; and that
the receipts signed by the operator indicated that he was a
mere agent, the finding of the Court of Appeals that the
operator was an agent of the company and not an
independent contractor should not be disturbed.
To determine the nature of a contract courts do not have or
are not bound to rely upon the name or title given it by the
contracting parties, should thereby a controversy as to what
they really had intended to enter into, but the way the
contracting parties do or perform their respective obligations
stipulated or agreed upon may be shown and inquired into,
and should such performance conflict with the name or title
given the contract by the parties, the former must prevail
over the latter. (Shell Company of the Philippines, Ltd. vs.
Firemens' Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey, 100
Phil. 757).
The written contract was apparently drawn for the purpose
of creating the apparent relationship of employer and
independent contractor, and of avoiding liability for the
negligence of the employees about the station; but the
company was not satisfied to allow such relationship to
exist. The evidence shows that it immediately assumed
control, and proceeded to direct the method by which the
work contracted for should be performed. By reserving the
right to terminate the contract at will, it retained the means
of compelling submission to its orders. Having elected to
assume control and to direct the means and methods by
which the work has to be performed, it must be held liable
for the negligence of those performing service under its
direction. We think the evidence was sufficient to sustain the
verdict of the jury. (Gulf Refining Company v. Rogers, 57
S.W. 2d, 183).
As found by the trial court the Africas sustained a loss of
P9,005.80, after deducting the amount of P2,000.00
collected by them on the insurance of the house. The
deduction is now challenged as erroneous on the ground
that Article 2207 of the New Civil Code, which provides for
the subrogation of the insurer to the rights of the insured,
was not yet in effect when the loss took place. However,
regardless of the silence of the law on this point at that
time, the amount that should be recovered be measured by
the damages actually suffered, otherwise the principle
prohibiting unjust enrichment would be violated