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FORTUNE EXPRESS vs.

COURT OF APPEALS and PAULIE


CAORONG and HER MINOR CHILDREN, 305 SCRA 14 (1999)
FACTS:
Pauli Caurong filed a complaint for damages against petitioner, a
bus company operating in Northern Mindanao, for the death of her
husband, Atty. Talib Caorong. Atty. Caurong was shot by Maranaos
in an ambush involving said bus.
BACKGROUND OF THE STORY:
o In November 1989, a bus of Fortune was involved in an
accident with a passenger jeepney resulting in the deaths of
several passengers.
o Crisanto Generalao, a local field agent of the Philippine
Constabulary, conducted an investigation on the accident and
found that the owner of the jeepney was a Maranao and that
several Maranaos were planning to burn some of Fortunes
buses for revenge.
o Generalao informed Diosdado Bravo, operations manager of
Fortune, about the plot, and Bravo assured him that they
would take the necessary precautions for safety.
o Several days later, Atty. Caorong was on board a bus to Iligan
when three Maranaos went on board the vehicle. The leader of
the group ordered the passengers to leave the bus. Atty.
Caorong later went back to get something when he saw that
the Maranaos were already pouring gasoline on the bus and on
the driver. Atty. Caorong pleaded for the life of the driver,
after which the driver jumped out of the vehicle. Caorong was
shot to death as a result.
RTC dismissed the complaint:
o Fortune was not negligent. Disregarding the suggestion of
providing its buses with security guards is not an omission of
petitioners duty. The evidence showed that the assailants did
not intend to harm the passengers. The death of Atty. Caorong
was an unexpected and unforeseen occurrence beyond
petitioners control.
CA REVERSED RTCs ruling:
o Fortune is negligent. Despite the tip to Manager Bravo of the
devious plan by several Maranaos, management did not do not
take any safety precautions at all.

One available safeguard that could have absolved Fortune


from liability was frisking of incoming passengers en route
to dangerous areas and bag inspection at the terminals,
which Fortune failed to do. The frisking system is not novel in
sensitive and dangerous places. Many companies adopt this
measure. Fortune did absolutely nothing.

ISSUE:
1. W/N Petitioner is liable for the death of Atty. Caorong by failing to
take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its passengers;
2. W/N the attack by the Maranaos constituted causo fortuito?
HELD: Petitioner is liable. Attack was not a fortuitous event.
Article 1763 holds common carriers liable for the injuries to
passengers caused by the wilful act of other passengers, if its
employees failed to exercise the diligence of a good father in
preventing the act.
Despite the warning by the constabulary officer, petitioner did
nothing to protect the safety of its passengers.
If petitioner took the necessary precautions, they would have
discovered the weapons and the large quantity of gasoline the
malefactors carried with them.
A common carrier is liable for failing to prevent hijacking by
frisking passengers and inspecting baggages.1
The seizure of the bus was not force majeure. Of the four elements
to constitute an event as caso fotuito, the element of
unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstances was lacking.
The seizure of the bus was foreseeable, given the fact that
petitioner was well-informed of the possibility, days before the
incident. This situation was likened to a case2 where the common
carrier failed to take safety precautions despite warnings of an
approaching typhoon.
Petitioner is solely liable for Atty. Caorongs death. There was no
contributory negligence on the part of the victim, since all he did

Gacal vs. Philippine Airlines.

2 Vasquez vs. Court of Appeals

was pleading for the life of the driver. His heroic effort was neither
an act of negligence or recklessness.