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1. FF Cruz and Co., Inc. v. CA (164 SCRA 733) actual damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.

00 as exemplary
damages, P20,000.00 as attorney's fees and costs. The Court of First Instance
held for private respondents:

G.R. No. L-52732 August 29, 1988 WHEREFORE, the Court hereby renders judgment, in favor
of plaintiffs, and against the defendant:
F.F. CRUZ and CO., INC., petitioner,
vs. 1. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs the amount
THE COURT OF APPEALS, GREGORIO MABLE as substituted by his wife of P80,000.00 for damages suffered by said plaintiffs for the
LUZ ALMONTE MABLE and children DOMING, LEONIDAS, LIGAYA, loss of their house, with interest of 6% from the date of the
ELENA, GREGORIO, JR., SALOME, ANTONIO, and BERNARDO all filing of the Complaint on January 23, 1975, until fully paid;
surnamed MABLE, respondents.
2. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of
Luis S. Topacio for petitioner. P50,000.00 for the loss of plaintiffs' furnitures, religious
images, silverwares, chinawares, jewelries, books, kitchen
Mauricio M. Monta for respondents. utensils, clothing and other valuables, with interest of 6% from
date of the filing of the Complaint on January 23, 1975, until
fully paid;

3. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of

P5,000.00 as moral damages, P2,000.00 as exemplary
damages, and P5,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees;
This petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals puts in issue the
application of the common law doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
4. With costs against the defendant;
The essential facts of the case are not disputed.
5. Counterclaim is ordered dismissed, for lack of merit. [CA
Decision, pp. 1-2; Rollo, pp. 29-30.]
The furniture manufacturing shop of petitioner in Caloocan City was situated
adjacent to the residence of private respondents. Sometime in August 1971,
private respondent Gregorio Mable first approached Eric Cruz, petitioner's On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in a decision promulgated on November 19,
1979, affirmed the decision of the trial court but reduced the award of
plant manager, to request that a firewall be constructed between the shop and
private respondents' residence. The request was repeated several times but
they fell on deaf ears. In the early morning of September 6, 1974, fire broke
out in petitioner's shop. Petitioner's employees, who slept in the shop WHEREFORE, the decision declaring the defendants liable is
premises, tried to put out the fire, but their efforts proved futile. The fire spread affirmed. The damages to be awarded to plaintiff should be
to private respondents' house. Both the shop and the house were razed to the reduced to P70,000.00 for the house and P50,000.00 for the
ground. The cause of the conflagration was never discovered. The National furniture and other fixtures with legal interest from the date of
Bureau of Investigation found specimens from the burned structures negative the filing of the complaint until full payment thereof. [CA
for the presence of inflammable substances. Decision, p. 7; Rollo, p. 35.]

Subsequently, private respondents collected P35,000.00 on the insurance on A motion for reconsideration was filed on December 3, 1979 but was denied
their house and the contents thereof. in a resolution dated February 18, 1980. Hence, petitioner filed the instant
petition for review on February 22, 1980. After the comment and reply were
filed, the Court resolved to deny the petition for lack of merit on June 11, 1980.
On January 23, 1975, private respondents filed an action for damages against
petitioner, praying for a judgment in their favor awarding P150,000.00 as
However, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was granted, and petitioner failed to construct a firewall between its shop and the residence of
the petition was given due course on September 12, 1980. After the parties private respondents as required by a city ordinance; that the fire could have
filed their memoranda, the case was submitted for decision on January 21, been caused by a heated motor or a lit cigarette; that gasoline and alcohol
1981. were used and stored in the shop; and that workers sometimes smoked inside
the shop [CA Decision, p. 5; Rollo, p. 33.]
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred:
Even without applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, petitioner's failure to
1. In not deducting the sum of P35,000.00, which private respondents construct a firewall in accordance with city ordinances would suffice to support
recovered on the insurance on their house, from the award of damages. a finding of negligence.

2. In awarding excessive and/or unproved damages. Even then the fire possibly would not have spread to the
neighboring houses were it not for another negligent omission
3. In applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to the facts of the instant case. on the part of defendants, namely, their failure to provide a
concrete wall high enough to prevent the flames from leaping
over it. As it was the concrete wall was only 2-1/2 meters high,
The pivotal issue in this case is the applicability of the common law doctrine and beyond that height it consisted merely of galvanized iron
of res ipsa loquitur, the issue of damages being merely consequential. In view sheets, which would predictably crumble and melt when
thereof, the errors assigned by petitioner shall be discussed in the reverse subjected to intense heat. Defendant's negligence, therefore,
order. was not only with respect to the cause of the fire but also with
respect to the spread thereof to the neighboring
1. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, whose application to the instant case houses.[Africa v. Caltex (Phil.), Inc., supra; Emphasis
petitioner objects to, may be stated as follows: supplied.]

Where the thing which caused the injury complained of is In the instant case, with more reason should petitioner be found guilty of
shown to be under the management of the defendant or his negligence since it had failed to construct a firewall between its property and
servants and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of private respondents' residence which sufficiently complies with the pertinent
things does not happen if those who have its management or city ordinances. The failure to comply with an ordinance providing for safety
control use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the regulations had been ruled by the Court as an act of negligence [Teague v.
absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident Fernandez, G.R. No. L-29745, June 4, 1973, 51 SCRA 181.]
arose from want of care. [Africa v. Caltex (Phil.), Inc., G.R. No.
L-12986, March 31, 1966, 16 SCRA 448.] The Court of Appeals, therefore, had more than adequate basis to find
petitioner liable for the loss sustained by private respondents.
Thus, in Africa, supra, where fire broke out in a Caltex service station while
gasoline from a tank truck was being unloaded into an underground storage 2. Since the amount of the loss sustained by private respondents constitutes
tank through a hose and the fire spread to and burned neighboring houses, a finding of fact, such finding by the Court of Appeals should not be disturbed
this Court, applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, adjudged Caltex liable for by this Court [M.D. Transit & Taxi Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-
the loss. 23882, February 17, 1968, 22 SCRA 559], more so when there is no showing
of arbitrariness.
The facts of the case likewise call for the application of the doctrine,
considering that in the normal course of operations of a furniture In the instant case, both the CFI and the Court of Appeals were in agreement
manufacturing shop, combustible material such as wood chips, sawdust, paint, as to the value of private respondents' furniture and fixtures and personal
varnish and fuel and lubricants for machinery may be found thereon. effects lost in the fire (i.e. P50,000.00). With regard to the house, the Court of
Appeals reduced the award to P70,000.00 from P80,000.00. Such cannot be
It must also be noted that negligence or want of care on the part of petitioner categorized as arbitrary considering that the evidence shows that the house
or its employees was not merely presumed. The Court of Appeals found that was built in 1951 for P40,000.00 and, according to private respondents, its
reconstruction would cost P246,000.00. Considering the appreciation in value WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals
of real estate and the diminution of the real value of the peso, the valuation of is hereby AFFIRMED with the following modifications as to the damages
the house at P70,000.00 at the time it was razed cannot be said to be awarded for the loss of private respondents' house, considering their receipt
excessive. of P35,000.00 from their insurer: (1) the damages awarded for the loss of the
house is reduced to P35,000.00; and (2) the right of the insurer to subrogation
3. While this Court finds that petitioner is liable for damages to private and thus seek reimbursement from petitioner for the P35,000.00 it had paid
respondents as found by the Court of Appeals, the fact that private private respondents is recognized.
respondents have been indemnified by their insurer in the amount of
P35,000.00 for the damage caused to their house and its contents has not SO ORDERED.
escaped the attention of the Court. Hence, the Court holds that in accordance
with Article 2207 of the Civil Code the amount of P35,000.00 should be
deducted from the amount awarded as damages. Said article provides:

Art. 2207. If the plaintiffs property has been insured, and he

has received indemnity from the insurance company for the
injury or loss arising out of the wrong or breach of contract
complained of, the insurance company is subrogated to the
rights of the insured against the wrongdoer or the person who
violated the contract. If the amount paid by the insurance
company does not fully cover the injury or loss, the aggrieved
party shall be entitled to recover the deficiency from the
person causing the loss or injury. (Emphasis supplied.]

The law is clear and needs no interpretation. Having been indemnified by their
insurer, private respondents are only entitled to recover the deficiency from

On the other hand, the insurer, if it is so minded, may seek reimbursement of

the amount it indemnified private respondents from petitioner. This is the
essence of its right to be subrogated to the rights of the insured, as expressly
provided in Article 2207. Upon payment of the loss incurred by the insured, the
insurer is entitled to be subrogated pro tanto to any right of action which the
insured may have against the third person whose negligence or wrongful act
caused the loss [Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. v. Jamila & Co., Inc., G.R. No.
L-27427, April 7, 1976, 70 SCRA 323.]

Under Article 2207, the real party in interest with regard to the indemnity
received by the insured is the insurer [Phil. Air Lines, Inc. v. Heald Lumber Co.,
101 Phil. 1031, (1957).] Whether or not the insurer should exercise the rights
of the insured to which it had been subrogated lies solely within the former's
sound discretion. Since the insurer is not a party to the case, its identity is not
of record and no claim is made on its behalf, the private respondent's insurer
has to claim his right to reimbursement of the P35,000.00 paid to the insured.
2. Cipriano v. CA (263 SCRA 711) which had been saved because they were parked near the entrance of the
On May 8 1991, private respondent sent a letter to petitioner, demanding
reimbursement for the value of the Kia Pride. In reply, petitioner denied liability
on the ground that the fire was a fortuitous event. This prompted private
respondent to bring this suit for the value of its vehicle and for damages against
[G.R. No. 107968. October 30, 1996]
petitioner. Private respondent alleged that its vehicle was lost due to the
negligence and imprudence of the petitioner, citing petitioners failure to
register his business with the Department of Trade and Industry under P.D.
No. 1572 and to insure it as required in the rules implementing the Decree.[5]
vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MACLIN ELECTRONICS, In his Answer, petitioner invoked Art. 1174 of the Civil Code and denied
INC., respondents. liability for the loss which he alleged was due to a fortuitous event. He later
testified that he employed an electrician who regularly inspected the lighting in
DECISION his restaurant and rustproofing shop. In addition, he claimed he had installed
fire-fighting devices and that the fire was an accident entirely independent of
MENDOZA, J.: his will and devoid of any negligence on his part. He further averred that private
respondents car was ready for release as early as afternoon of April 30, 1991,
This is a petition for review of the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in and that it was private respondents delay in claiming it that was the cause of
CA-G.R. CV No. 36045 which affirmed in toto the decision of Branch 58[2] of the loss.
the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, ordering the petitioner to
Petitioner explained that rustproofing involved spraying asphalt-like
pay P252,155.00 to private respondent for the loss of the latters vehicle while
materials underneath motor vehicle so that rust will not corrode its body and
undergoing rustproofing and P10,000.00 in attorneys fees.
that the materials and chemicals used for this purpose are not
The facts of the case are as follows: inflammable. Therefore, he could not be made to assume the risk of loss due
to fire. He also claimed that he was not required to register his business with
Petitioner Elias S. Cipriano is the owner of E.S. Cipriano Enterprises, the Department of Trade and Industry, because he was not covered by P.D.
which is engaged in the rustproofing of vehicles, under the style No. 1572.
Motobilkote. On April 30, 1991, private respondent Maclin Electronics, Inc.,
through an employee, brought a 1990 model Kia Pride Peoples car to On the other hand, private respondent argued that petitioner was liable
petitioners shop for rustproofing. The car had been purchased the year before for the loss of the car even if it was caused by a fortuitous event. It contended
from the Integrated Auto Sales, Inc. for P252,155.00. that the nature of petitioners business required him to assume the risk because
under P.D. No. 1572, petitioner was required to insure his property as well as
The vehicle was received in the shop under Job Order No. those of his customers.
123581,[3] which showed the date it was received for rustproofing as well its
condition at the time. Neither the time of acceptance nor the hour of release, The trial court sustained the private respondents contention that the
however, was specified. According to the petitioner, the car was brought to his failure of defendant to comply with P.D. No. 1572 is in effect a manifest act of
shop at 10 oclock in the morning of April 30, 1991 and was ready for release negligence which renders defendant [petitioner herein] liable for the loss of the
later that afternoon, as it took only six hours to complete the process of car even if the same was caused by fire,[6] even as it ruled that the business of
rustproofing. rustproffing is definitely covered by P.D. No. 1572. Since petitioner did not
register his business and insure it, he must bear the cost of loss of his
In the afternoon of May 1, 1991, fire broke out at the Lambat restaurant, customers. As already noted, the court ordered petitioner to pay private
which petitioner also owned, adjoining his Mobilkote rustproofing shop. The respondent P252,155.00 with interest at 6% per annum from the filing of the
fire destroyed both the shop and the restaurant, including private respondents case and attorneys fees in the amount of P10,000.00.
Kia Pride. The car had been kept inside the building, allegedly to protect it from
theft. Petitioner claimed that despite efforts to save the vehicle, there was On appeal, the decision was affirmed. The Court of Appeals ruled that the
simply not enough time to get it out of the building, unlike three other cars provisions of the Civil Code relied upon by the petitioner are not applicable to
this case, and that the law applicable to the case is P.D. No. 1572, the purpose
of which is to protect customers who entrust their properties to service and ART. 1262. An obligation which consists in the delivery of a determinate thing
repair enterprises. The Court of Appeals held that by virtue of the provisions shall be extinguished if it should be lost or destroyed without the fault of the
of P.D. No. 1572 and its implementing rules and regulations which require fire debtor, and before he has incurred in delay.
insurance coverage prior to accreditation, owners of service and repair
enterprises assume the risk of loss of their customers property. The appellate When by law or stipulation, the obligor is liable even for fortuitous events, the
court stated: loss of the thing does not extinguish the obligation, and he shall be responsible
Defendant-appellant was operating the business of rustproofing of for damages. The same rule applies when the nature of the obligation requires
cars and other motor vehicles illegally at the time of the fire in the assumption of risk.
question; i.e., without the necessary accreditation and license from
the Department of Trade and Industry, and it is for this reason that The contention is without merit. The issue in this case is whether
it did not carry at least a fire insurance coverage to protect the petitioner was required to insure his business and the vehicles received by him
vehicles entrusted to it by its customers. Therefore, it must bear in the course of his business and, if so, whether his failure to do so constituted
the consequences of such illegal operation, including the risk of negligence, rendering him liable for loss due to the risk required to be insured
losses or injuries to the vehicles of its customers brought by against. We hold that both questions must be answered in the affirmative.
unforeseen or fortuitous events like the fire that gutted its shop and We have already held that violation of a statutory duty is negligence per
completely burned appellees car while said vehicle was in its se. In F.F. Cruz and Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[9] we held the owner of a
possession.[7] furniture shop liable for the destruction of the plaintiffs house in a fire which
The Court of Appeals also affirmed the award of attorneys fees, ruling started in his establishment in view of his failure to comply with an ordinance
that although the lower court did not expressly and specifically state the reason which required the construction of a firewall. In Teague v. Fernandez,[10] we
for the award, the basis therefor could be inferred from the finding that stated that where the very injury which was intended to be prevented by the
petitioner unjustly refused to pay private respondents valid and demandable ordinance has happened, non-compliance with the ordinance was not only an
claim. Said the appellate court: act negligence, but also the proximate cause of the death.

Such wanton, reckless, and illegal operation of appellants business Indeed, the existence of a contract between petitioner and private
resulted in appellees lack of protection from the fire that gutted respondent does not bar a finding of negligence under the principles of quasi-
appellants shop and which completely burned its car while in delict, as we recently held in Fabre v. Court of Appeals.[11] Petitioner's
appellants possession for rustproofing. Yet appellant adamantly negligence is the source of his obligation. He is not being held liable for breach
and stubbornly refused to pay appellee the value of its lost car. It of his contractual obligation due to negligence but for his negligence in not
was, therefore, correctly ordered by the court a quo to pay appellee complying with a duty imposed on him by law. It is therefore immaterial that
reasonable attorneys fees as it had unjustly and unreasonably the loss occasioned to private respondent was due to a fortuitous event, since
refused to satisfy the latters plainly valid, just, and demandable it was petitioners negligence in not insuring against the risk which was the
claim, compelling said appellee to file this action to protect its proximate cause of the loss.
interest (Art. 2208, pars. (2) and (5), New Civil Code).[8]
Thus, P.D. No. 1572, 1 requires service and repair enterprises for motor
Hence, this appeal. Petitioner contends that the fire which destroyed vehicles, like that of petitioners to register with the Department of Trade and
private respondents car was a fortuitous event for which he cannot be held Industry. As condition for such registration or accreditation, Ministry Order No.
responsible. In support of his argument, he cites the following provisions of the 32 requires covered enterprises to secure insurance coverage. Rule III of this
Civil Code: Order provides in pertinent parts:[12]

ART. 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is 1- REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCREDITATION
otherwise declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires
the assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which 1) Enterprises applying for original accreditation shall submit the following:
could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable.
1.1. List of machineries/equipment/tools in useful condition;
1.2. List of certified engineers/accredited technicians mechanics award of attorneys fees in the decision of the trial court, it was error for the
with their personal data; Court of Appeals to sustain such award.
WHEREFORE, the decision, dated November 18, 1992, of the Court of
1.3. Copy of Insurance Policy of the shop covering the property Appeals is AFFIRMED, with the modification that the award of attorneys fees
entrusted by its customer for repair, service or maintenance is DELETED.
together with a copy of the official receipt covering the full
payment of premium; SO ORDERED.

1.4. Copy of Bond referred to under Section 7, Rule III of this Rules
and Regulations;

1.5. Written service warranty in the form prescribed by the Bureau;

1.6. Certificate issued by the Securities and Exchange

Commission and Articles of Incorporation or Partnership in
case of corporation or partnership;

1.7. Such other additional documents which the Director may require
from time to time.


The insurance policy for the following risks like theft, pilferage, fire, flood and
loss should cover exclusively the machines, motor vehicles, heavy equipment,
engines, electronics, electrical, airconditioners, refrigerators, office machines
and data processing equipment, medical and dental equipment, other
consumer mechanical and industrial equipment stored for repair and/or service
in the premises of the applicant.

There is thus a statutory duty imposed on petitioner and it is for his failure
to comply with this duty that he was guilty of negligence rendering him liable
for damages to private respondent. While the fire in this case may be
considered a fortuitous event,[13] this circumstance cannot exempt petitioner
from liability for loss.
We think, however, that the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the
award of attorneys fees by the lower court. It is now settled that the reasons
or grounds for an award of attorneys fees must be set forth in the decision of
the court.[14] They cannot be left to inference as the appellate court held in this
case. The reason for this is that it is not sound policy to penalize the right to
litigate. An award of attorneys fees, being an exception to this policy and
limited to the grounds enumerated in the law,[15]must be fully justified in the
decision. It can not simply be inserted as an item of recoverable damages in
the judgment of the court. Since in this case there is no justification for the
3. Marinduque Iron Mines Agents, Inc. v. The Workmen’s Compensation Vice President, denied its liability under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, as
Commission (99 Phil 480) amended. In an investigation conducted on February 8, 1954 by the
undersigned referee, the Respondent company thru Mr. Lenze who was
assisted by counsel, was allowed to examine the records of the case including
the sworn declaration of Ma. Coll and was given all the opportunity to rebut the
[G.R. No. L-8110. June 30, 1956.]
same by additional evidence.”
In our opinion, Petitioner’s grievance does not rest on any sound basis,
because it was given notice, and therefore had the chance, to examine (and
cross-examine) the witnesses against it. The statute even permits the
Commissioner (or his referee) to take testimony without notice (section 48 Act
3428 as amended) provided of course such ex parte evidence is reduced to
DECISION writing, and the adverse party is afforded opportunity to examine and rebut the
BENGZON, J.: same which was done in this instance.
The Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc. questions by certiorari the order of the Anyway we are not shown how its failure to cross-examine the witnesses
Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner confirming the referee’s award of prejudiced the Petitioner’s position.
compensation to the heirs of Pedro Mamador for his accidental death.
In its second proposition, Petitioner maintains that this claim is barred by
Only the right to compensation is disputed; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarynot the section 6 of the Workmen’s Compensation Law, because (a) Macunat was
amount. prosecuted and required to indemnify the heirs of the deceased and (b) an
amicable settlement was concluded between said heirs and Macunat.
“It appears,” says the award, “that on August 23, 1951, at
6:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary00 a.m. in Bo. Sumangga, Mogpog, Marinduque, Section 6 provides as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
the deceased Mamador together with other laborers of the Respondent- “Sec. 6. Liability of third parties. — In case an employee suffers an injury for
corporation, (Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc.) boarded a truck belonging
which compensation is due under this Act by any other person besides his
to the latter, which was then driven by one Procopio Macunat, also employed
employer, it shall be optional with such injured employee either to claim
by the corporation, and on its way to their place of work at the mine camp at
compensation from his employer, under this Act, or sue such other person for
Talantunan, while trying to overtake another truck on the company road, it damages, in accordance with law; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand in case
turned over and hit a coconut tree, resulting in the death of said Mamador and compensation is claimed and allowed in accordance with this Act, the
injury to the others.” employer who paid such compensation or was found liable to pay the same,
Procopio Macunat was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to indemnify the shall succeed the injured employee to the right of recovering from such person
heirs of the deceased. (Criminal Case No. 1491). He has paid nothing what he paid:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Provided, That in case the employer
however, to the latter. recovers from such third person damages in excess of those paid or allowed
under this Act, such excess shall be delivered to the injured employee or any
In his first proposition Petitioner challenges the validity of the proceedings other person entitled thereto, after deduction of the expenses of the employer
before the Commission, asserting it had not been given the opportunity to and the costs of the proceedings. The sum paid by the employer for
cross-examine the opposing witnesses. According to Respondents. compensation or the amount of compensation to which the employee or his
“The records show that pursuant to a request made by this Commission on dependents are entitled, shall not be admissible as evidence in any damage
March 28, 1953 to investigate the above-entitled case, the Public Defender of suit or action.”
Boac, Marinduque, notified Respondent Geronimo Ma. Coll and the general It is the Petitioner’s contention that Criminal Case No. 1491 and its outcome
manager of the Respondent company, Mr. Eric Lenze, to appear before him in constituted an election by the employee (or his heirs) to sue the third person,
an investigation, first on May 12, 1953, when neither of them appeared, and such election having the effect of releasing the employer. However, Criminal
the second on May 29, 1953, when only Mr. Geronimo Ma. Coll. appeared. Case No. 1491 was not a suit for damages against the third person, it being
The sworn testimony of Mr. Ma. Coll was then taken down in a question and alleged, without contradiction that the heirs did not intervene therein and have
answer method. On August 18, 1953, thru Referee Ramon Villaflor, this not so far received the indemnity ordered by the court. At any rate, we have
Commission wrote the Respondent company to comment on the enclosed already decided in Nava vs. Inchausti Co. 1 that the indemnity granted the
copy of the sworn declaration of Ma. Coll. The Respondentcompany, thru its
heirs in a criminal prosecution of the “other person” does not affect the liability Nevertheless, even granting there was negligence, it surely was not
of the employer to pay compensation. 2 “notorious” negligence, which we have interpreted to mean the same thing as
“gross” negligence 3 — implying “conscious indifference to consequences”
As to the alleged “amicable settlement,” it consists of an affidavit wherein, for
“pursuing a course of conduct which would naturally and probably result in
the sum of 150 pesos, Mamador’s widow promised “to forgive Macunat for the
injury” “utter disregard of consequences.” (38 Am. Jur., 691) Getting or
wrong committed and not to bring him before the authorities for prosecution.”
accepting a free ride on the company’s haulage truck couldn’t be gross
Upon making such promise — Petitionerargues — she elected one of the
negligence, because as the referee found, “no danger or risk was apparent.”
remedies, (against the third person) and is barred from the other remedy
(against the employer). The contention may not be sustained, inasmuch as all There being no other material point raised in the petition for review, the award
the widow promised was to forego the offender’s criminal prosecution. Note of compensation is hereby affirmed, with costs against Petitioner.
further that a question may be raised whether she could bind the other heirs
of the deceased.
The most important aspect of this appeal, is the effect of the deceased’s having
violated the employer’s prohibition against laborers riding the haulage
trucks. Petitioner claims such violation was the laborer’s “notorious
negligence” which, under the law, precludes recovery. The Commission has
not declared that the prohibition was known to Mamador. Yet the employer
does not point out in the record evidence to that effect. Supposing Mamador
knew the prohibition, said the referee, “can we truthfully say that he boarded
the fatal truck with full apprehension of the existence of the danger, if any at
all, that an ordinary prudent man would try to avoid? I do not believe so, and
even in the presence of doubt, the same must be resolved in his favor. Unless
of course, we can attribute to him a desire to end his life. Nowhere in the
records of this case can we find the slightest insinuation of that desire.”
There is no doubt that mere riding on haulage truck or stealing a ride thereon
is not negligence, ordinarily. It couldn’t be, because transportation by truck is
not dangerous per se. It is argued that there was notorious negligence in this
particular instance because there was the employer’s prohibition. Does
violation of this order constitute negligence? Many courts hold that violation of
a statute or ordinance constitutes negligence per se. Others consider the
However there is practical unanimity in the proposition that violation of a rule
promulgated by a Commission or board is not negligence per se; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarybut it may be evidence of negligence. (C.J.S., Vol. 65, p.
This order of the employer (prohibition rather) couldn’t be of a greater
obligation than the rule of a Commission or board. And the referee correctly
considered this violation as possible evidence of negligence; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarybut it declared that under the circumstance, the laborer
could not be declared to have acted with negligence. Correctly, it is believed,
since the prohibition had nothing to do with personal safety of the riders.
Such finding is virtually a finding of fact which we may not overrule in this
certiorari proceeding.
4. Añonuevo v. CA (Gr No. 130003) serious injuries as a result, which necessitated his hospitalization several
times in 1989, and forced him to undergo four (4) operations.

On 26 October 1989, Villagracia instituted an action for damages against

G.R. No. 130003 October 20, 2004 Procter and Gamble Phils., Inc. and Añonuevo before the RTC.2 He had also
filed a criminal complaint against Añonuevo before the Metropolitan Trial Court
JONAS AÑONUEVO, Petitioner. of Mandaluyong, but the latter was subsequently acquitted of the criminal
vs. charge.3 Trial on the civil action ensued, and in a Decision dated 9 March
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JEROME VILLAGRACIA, Respondent. 1990, the RTC rendered judgment against Procter and Gamble and
Añonuevo, ordering them to pay Villagracia the amounts of One Hundred Fifty
DECISION Thousand Pesos (₱150, 000.00). for actual damages, Ten Thousand Pesos
(₱10,000.00) for moral damages, and Twenty Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00)
for attorney’s fees, as well as legal costs.4 Both defendants appealed to the
TINGA, J.: Court of Appeals.

The bicycle provides considerable speed and freedom of movement to the In a Decision5 dated 8 May 1997, the Court of Appeals Fourth Division affirmed
rider. It derives a certain charm from being unencumbered by any enclosure, the RTC Decision in toto6 . After the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for
affording the cyclist the perception of relative liberty. It also carries some Reconsideration in a Resolution7 dated 22 July 1997, Procter and Gamble and
obvious risks on the part of the user and has become the subject of regulation, Añonuevo filed their respective petitions for review with this Court. Procter and
if not by the government, then by parental proscription. Gamble’s petition was denied by this Court in a Resolution dated 24
November 1997. Añonuevo’s petition,8 on the other hand, was given due
The present petition seeks to bar recovery by an injured cyclist of damages course,9 and is the subject of this Decision.
from the driver of the car which had struck him. The argument is hinged on the
cyclist’s failure to install safety devices on his bicycle. However, the lower In arriving at the assailed Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the factual
courts agreed that the motorist himself caused the collision with his own findings of the RTC. Among them: that it was Añonuevo’s vehicle which had
negligence. The facts are deceptively simple, but the resolution entails struck Villagracia;10 that Añonuevo’s vehicle had actually hit Villagracia’s left
thorough consideration of fundamental precepts on negligence. mid-thigh, thus causing a comminuted fracture;11 that as testified by
eyewitness Alfredo Sorsano, witness for Villagracia, Añonuevo was
The present petition raises little issue with the factual findings of the Regional "umaarangkada," or speeding as he made the left turn into Libertad;12 that
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 160, of Pasig City, as affirmed by the Court of considering Añonuevo’s claim that a passenger jeepney was obstructing his
Appeals. Both courts adjudged petitioner, Jonas Añonuevo ( Añonuevo ), path as he made the turn. Añonuevo had enough warning to control his
liable for the damages for the injuries sustained by the cyclist, Jerome speed;13 and that Añonuevo failed to exercise the ordinary precaution, care
Villagracia (Villagracia). Instead, the petition hinges on a sole legal question, and diligence required of him in order that the accident could have been
characterized as "novel" by the petitioner: whether Article 2185 of the New avoided.14 Notably, Añonuevo, in his current petition, does not dispute the
Civil Code, which presumes the driver of a motor vehicle negligent if he was findings of tortious conduct on his part made by the lower courts, hinging his
violating a traffic regulation at the time of the mishap, should apply by analogy appeal instead on the alleged negligence of Villagracia. Añonuevo proffers no
to non-motorized vehicles.1 exculpatory version of facts on his part, nor does he dispute the conclusions
made by the RTC and the Court of Appeals. Accordingly, the Court, which is
As found by the RTC, and affirmed by the Court of Appeals, the accident in not a trier of facts,15 is not compelled to review the factual findings of the lower
question occurred on 8 February 1989, at around nine in the evening, at the courts, which following jurisprudence have to be received with respect and are
intersection of Boni Avenue and Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong (now a city). in fact generally binding.16
Villagracia was traveling along Boni Avenue on his bicycle, while Añonuevo,
traversing the opposite lane was driving his Lancer car with plate number PJJ Notwithstanding, the present petition presents interesting questions for
359. The car was owned by Procter and Gamble Inc., the employer of resolution. Añonuevo’s arguments are especially fixated on a particular
Añonuevo’s brother, Jonathan. Añonuevo was in the course of making a left question of law: whether Article 2185 of the New Civil Code should apply by
turn towards Libertad Street when the collision occurred. Villagracia sustained analogy to non-motorized vehicles.17 In the same vein, Añonuevo insists that
Villagracia’s own fault and negligence serves to absolve the former of any At the time Article 2185 was formulated, there existed a whole array of non-
liability for damages. motorized vehicles ranging from human-powered contraptions on wheels such
as bicycles, scooters, and animal-drawn carts such as calesas and carromata.
Its is easy to discern why Añonuevo chooses to employ this line of argument. These modes of transport were even more prevalent on the roads of the 1940s
Añonuevo points out that Villagracia’s bicycle had no safety gadgets such as and 1950s than they are today, yet the framers of the New Civil Code chose
a horn or bell, or headlights, as invoked by a 1948 municipal ordinance.18 Nor then to exclude these alternative modes from the scope of Article 2185 with
was it duly registered with the Office of the Municipal Treasurer, as required the use of the term "motorized vehicles." If Añonuevo seriously contends that
by the same ordinance. Finally, as admitted by Villagracia, his bicycle did not the application of Article 2185 be expanded due to the greater interaction today
have foot brakes.19 Before this Court, Villagracia does not dispute these of all types of vehicles, such argument contradicts historical experience. The
allegations, which he admitted during the trial, but directs our attention instead ratio of motorized vehicles as to non-motorized vehicles, as it stood in 1950,
to the findings of Añonuevo’s own negligence.20 Villagracia also contends that, was significantly lower than as it stands today. This will be certainly affirmed
assuming there was contributory negligence on his part, such would not by statistical data, assuming such has been compiled, much less confirmed by
exonerate Añonuevo from payment of damages. The Court of Appeals persons over sixty. Añonuevo’s characterization of a vibrant intra-road
likewise acknowledged the lack of safety gadgets on Villagracia’s bicycle, but dynamic between motorized and non-motorized vehicles is more apropos to
characterized the contention as "off-tangent" and insufficient to obviate the fact the past than to the present.
that it was Añonuevo’s own negligence that caused the accident.21
There is a fundamental flaw in Añonuevo’s analysis of Art. 2185, as applicable
Añonuevo claims that Villagracia violated traffic regulations when he failed to today. He premises that the need for the distinction between motorized and
register his bicycle or install safety gadgets thereon. He posits that Article 2185 non-motorized vehicles arises from the relative mass of number of these
of the New Civil Code applies by analogy. The provision reads: vehicles. The more pertinent basis for the segregate classification is the
difference in type of these vehicles. A motorized vehicle operates by reason of
Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person a motor engine unlike a non-motorized vehicle, which runs as a result of a
driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap he was direct exertion by man or beast of burden of direct physical force. A motorized
violating any traffic regulation. vehicle, unimpeded by the limitations in physical exertion. is capable of greater
speeds and acceleration than non-motorized vehicles. At the same time,
motorized vehicles are more capable in inflicting greater injury or damage in
The provision was introduced for the first time in this jurisdiction with the the event of an accident or collision. This is due to a combination of factors
adoption in 1950 of the New Civil Code.22 Its applicability is expressly qualified peculiar to the motor vehicle, such as the greater speed, its relative greater
to motor vehicles only, and there is no ground to presume that the law intended bulk of mass, and greater combustability due to the fuels that they use.
a broader coverage.
There long has been judicial recognition of the peculiar dangers posed by the
Still, Añonuevo hypothesizes that Article 2185 should apply by analogy to all motor vehicle. As far back as 1912, in the U.S. v. Juanillo25 , the Court has
types of vehicles23 . He points out that modern-day travel is more complex now recognized that an automobile is capable of great speed, greater than that of
than when the Code was enacted, the number and types of vehicles now in ordinary vehicles hauled by animals, "and beyond doubt it is highly dangerous
use far more numerous than as of then. He even suggests that at the time of when used on country roads, putting to great hazard the safety and lives of the
the enactment of the Code, the legislators "must have seen that only motor mass of the people who travel on such roads."26 In the same case, the Court
vehicles were of such public concern that they had to be specifically emphasized:
mentioned," yet today, the interaction of vehicles of all types and nature has
"inescapably become matter of public concern" so as to expand the application
A driver of an automobile, under such circumstances, is required to use a
of the law to be more responsive to the times.24
greater degree of care than drivers of animals, for the reason that the machine
is capable of greater destruction, and furthermore, it is absolutely under the
What Añonuevo seeks is for the Court to amend the explicit command of the power and control of the driver; whereas, a horse or other animal can and does
legislature, as embodied in Article 2185, a task beyond the pale of judicial to some extent aid in averting an accident. It is not pleasant to be obliged to
power. The Court interprets, and not creates, the law. However, since the slow down automobiles to accommodate persons riding, driving, or walking. It
Court is being asked to consider the matter, it might as well examine whether is probably more agreeable to send the machine along and let the horse or
Article 2185 could be interpreted to include non-motorized vehicles. person get out of the way in the best manner possible; but it is well to
understand, if this course is adopted and an accident occurs, that the judgment of the actor in a given situation, but rather, it is the law which
automobile driver will be called upon to account for his acts. An automobile determines what would be reckless or negligent.31
driver must at all times use all the care and caution which a careful and prudent
driver would have exercised under the circumstances.27 Añonuevo, asserts that Villagracia was negligent as the latter had
transgressed a municipal ordinance requiring the registration of bicycles and
American jurisprudence has had occasion to explicitly rule on the relationship the installation of safety devices thereon. This view finds some support if
between the motorist and the cyclist. Motorists are required to exercise anchored on the long standing principle of negligence per se.
ordinary or reasonable care to avoid collision with bicyclists.28 While the duty
of using ordinary care falls alike on the motorist and the rider or driver of a The generally accepted view is that the violation of a statutory duty constitutes
bicycle, it is obvious, for reasons growing out of the inherent differences in the negligence, negligence as a matter of law, or negligence per se.32 In Teague
two vehicles, that more is required from the former to fully discharge the duty vs. Fernandez,33 the Court cited with approval American authorities elucidating
than from the latter.29 on the rule:

The Code Commission was cognizant of the difference in the natures and "The mere fact of violation of a statute is not sufficient basis for an inference
attached responsibilities of motorized and non-motorized vehicles. Art. 2185 that such violation was the proximate cause of the injury complained. However,
was not formulated to compel or ensure obeisance by all to traffic rules and if the very injury has happened which was intended to be prevented by the
regulations. If such were indeed the evil sought to be remedied or guarded statute, it has been held that violation of the statute will be deemed to be the
against, then the framers of the Code would have expanded the provision to proximate cause of the injury." (65 C.J.S. 1156)
include non-motorized vehicles or for that matter, pedestrians. Yet, that was
not the case; thus the need arises to ascertain the peculiarities attaching to a
"The generally accepted view is that violation of a statutory duty constitutes
motorized vehicle within the dynamics of road travel. The fact that there has
negligence, negligence as a matter of law, or, according to the decisions on
long existed a higher degree of diligence and care imposed on motorized the question, negligence per se, for the reason that non-observance of what
vehicles, arising from the special nature of motor vehicle, leads to the the legislature has prescribed as a suitable precaution is failure to observe that
inescapable conclusion that the qualification under Article 2185 exists
care which an ordinarily prudent man would observe, and, when the state
precisely to recognize such higher standard. Simply put, the standards regards certain acts as so liable to injure others as to justify their absolute
applicable to motor vehicle are not on equal footing with other types of prohibition, doing the forbidden act is a breach of duty with respect to those
vehicles. who may be injured thereby; or, as it has been otherwise expressed, when the
standard of care is fixed by law, failure to conform to such standard is
Thus, we cannot sustain the contention that Art. 2185 should apply to non- negligence, negligence per se or negligence in and of itself, in the absence of
motorized vehicles, even if by analogy. There is factual and legal basis that a legal excuse. According to this view it is immaterial, where a statute has been
necessitates the distinction under Art. 2185, and to adopt Añonuevo’s thesis violated, whether the act or omission constituting such violation would have
would unwisely obviate this distinction. been regarded as negligence in the absence of any statute on the subject or
whether there was, as a matter of fact, any reason to anticipate that injury
Even if the legal presumption under Article 2185 should not apply to would result from such violation. x x x." (65 C.J.S. pp.623-628)
Villagracia, this should not preclude any possible finding of negligence on his
part. While the legal argument as formulated by Añonuevo is erroneous, his "But the existence of an ordinance changes the situation. If a driver causes an
core contention that Villagracia was negligent for failure to comply with traffic accident by exceeding the speed limit, for example, we do not inquire whether
regulations warrants serious consideration, especially since the imputed his prohibited conduct was unreasonably dangerous. It is enough that it was
negligent acts were admitted by Villagracia himself. prohibited. Violation of an ordinance intended to promote safety is negligence.
If by creating the hazard which the ordinance was intended to avoid it brings
The Civil Code characterizes negligence as the omission of that diligence about the harm which the ordinance was intended to prevent, it is a legal cause
which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the of the harm. This comes only to saying that in such circumstances the law has
circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place.30 However, the no reason to ignore the causal relation which obviously exists in fact. The law
existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by the personal has excellent reason to recognize it, since it is the very relation which the
makers of the ordinance anticipated. This court has applied these principles to
speed limits and other regulations of the manner of driving." (Ross vs. This court has appreciated that negligence per se, arising from the mere
Hartman, 139 Fed. 2d 14 at 15). violation of a traffic statute, need not be sufficient in itself in establishing liability
for damages. In Sanitary Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,39 a collision
"x x x However, the fact that other happenings causing or contributing toward between a truck and a privately-owned Cimarron van caused the death of three
an injury intervened between the violation of a statute or ordinance and the of the van’s passengers. The petitioner therein, the owner of the truck, argued
injury does not necessarily make the result so remote that no action can be that the driver of the Cimarron was committing multiple violations of the Land
maintained. The test is to be found not in the number of intervening events or Transportation and Traffic Code40 at the time of the accident. Among these
agents, but in their character and in the natural and probable connection violations: the Cimarron was overloaded at the time of the accident; the front
between the wrong done and the injurious consequence. The general principle seat of the van was occupied by four adults, including the driver; and the van
is that the violation of a statute or ordinance is not rendered remote as the had only one functioning headlight. Similar as in this case, petitioner therein
cause of an injury by the intervention of another agency if the occurrence of invoked Article 2185 and argued that the driver of the Cimarron should be
the accident, in the manner in which it happened, was the very thing which the presumed negligent. The Court, speaking through Justice Mendoza,
statute or ordinance was intended to prevent." (38 Am Jur 841)34 dismissed these arguments:

In Teague, the owner of a vocational school stricken by a fire resulting in [It] has not been shown how the alleged negligence of the Cimarron driver
fatalities was found negligent, base on her failure to provide adequate fire exits contributed to the collision between the vehicles. Indeed, petitioner has the
in contravention of a Manila city ordinance.35 In F.F. Cruz and Co., Inc. v. Court burden of showing a causal connection between the injury received and the
of Appeals36 , the failure of the petitioner to construct a firewall in accordance violation of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. He must show that the
with city ordinances sufficed to support a finding of negligence.37 In Cipriano v. violation of the statute was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that it
Court of Appeals, 38 the Court found that the failure of the petitioner to register substantially contributed thereto. Negligence consisting in whole or in part, of
and insure his auto rustproofing shop in accordance with the statute violation of law, like any other negligence, is without legal consequence unless
constituted negligence per se, thus holding him liable for the damages for the it is a contributing cause of the injury. Petitioner says that "driving an
destruction by fire of a customer’s vehicle garaged therein. overloaded vehicle with only one functioning headlight during nighttime
certainly increases the risk of accident," that because the Cimarron had only
one headlight, there was "decreased visibility," and that the fact that the vehicle
Should the doctrine of negligence per se apply to Villagracia, resulting from his
was overloaded and its front seat overcrowded "decreased its
violation of an ordinance? It cannot be denied that the statutory purpose for
maneuverability." However, mere allegations such as these are not sufficient
requiring bicycles to be equipped with headlights or horns is to promote road
safety and to minimize the occurrence of road accidents involving bicycles. At to discharge its burden of proving clearly that such alleged negligence was the
face value, Villagracia’s mishap was precisely the danger sought to be contributing cause of the injury.41
guarded against by the ordinance he violated. Añonuevo argues that
Villagracia’s violation should bar the latter’s recovery of damages, and a Sanitary Steam42 is controlling in this case. The bare fact that Villagracia was
simplistic interpretation of negligence per se might vindicate such an violating a municipal ordinance at the time of the accident may have sufficiently
argument. established some degree of negligence on his part, but such negligence is
without legal consequence unless it is shown that it was a contributing cause
of the injury. If anything at all, it is but indicative of Villagracia’s failure in
But this is by no means a simple case. There is the fact which we consider as
proven, that Añonuevo was speeding as he made the left turn, and such fulfilling his obligation to the municipal government, which would then be the
negligent act was the proximate cause of the accident. This reckless behavior proper party to initiate corrective action as a result. But such failure alone is
would have imperiled anyone unlucky enough within the path of Añonuevo’s not determinative of Villagracia’s negligence in relation to the accident.
car as it turned into the intersection, whether they are fellow motorists, Negligence is relative or comparative, dependent upon the situation of the
parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the particular
pedestrians, or cyclists. We are hard put to conclude that Villagracia would
have avoided injury had his bicycle been up to par with safety regulations, circumstances reasonably require.43 To determine if Villagracia was negligent,
especially considering that Añonuevo was already speeding as he made the it is not sufficient to rely solely on the violations of the municipal ordinance, but
imperative to examine Villagracia’s behavior in relation to the
turn, or before he had seen Villagracia. Even assuming that Añonuevo had
contemporaneous circumstances of the accident.
failed to see Villagracia because the bicycle was not equipped with headlights,
such lapse on the cyclist’s part would not have acquitted the driver of his duty
to slow down as he proceeded to make the left turn.
The rule on negligence per se must admit qualifications that may arise from he could have avoided the accident had he [stopped] alongside with an
the logical consequences of the facts leading to the mishap. The doctrine (and earlier (sic) jeep which was already at a full stop giving way to appellee. But
Article 2185, for that matter) is undeniably useful as a judicial guide in according to [eyewitness] Sorsano, he saw appellant Añonuevo
adjudging liability, for it seeks to impute culpability arising from the failure of "umaarangkada" and hit the leg of Villagracia (TSN March 14, 1990 p. 30).
the actor to perform up to a standard established by a legal fiat. But the This earlier (sic) jeep at a full stop gave way to Villagracia to proceed but
doctrine should not be rendered inflexible so as to deny relief when in fact Añonuevo at an unexpected motion (umarangkada) came out hitting
there is no causal relation between the statutory violation and the injury Villagracia (TSN March 9, 1990 p. 49). Appellant Añonuevo admitted that he
sustained. Presumptions in law, while convenient, are not intractable so as to did not blow his horn when he crossed Boni Avenue (TSN March 21, 1990 p.
forbid rebuttal rooted in fact. After all, tort law is remunerative in spirit, aiming 47).55
to provide compensation for the harm suffered by those whose interests have
been invaded owing to the conduct of others.44 By Añonuevo’s own admission, he had seen Villagracia at a good distance of
ten (10) meters. Had he been decelerating, as he should, as he made the turn,
Under American case law, the failures imputed on Villagracia are not grievous Añonuevo would have had ample opportunity to avoid hitting Villagracia.
enough so as to negate monetary relief. In the absence of statutory Moreover, the fact that Añonuevo had sighted Villagracia before the accident
requirement, one is not negligent as a matter of law for failing to equip a horn, would negate any possibility that the absence of lights on the bike contributed
bell, or other warning devise onto a bicycle.45 In most cases, the absence of to the cause of the accident.56 A motorist has been held liable for injury to or
proper lights on a bicycle does not constitute negligence as a matter of death of a bicyclist where the motorist turned suddenly into the bicyclist so as
law46 but is a question for the jury whether the absence of proper lights played to cause a collision.57
a causal part in producing a collision with a motorist.47 The absence of proper
lights on a bicycle at night, as required by statute or ordinance, may constitute Neither does Añonuevo attempt before this Court to establish a causal
negligence barring or diminishing recovery if the bicyclist is struck by a motorist connection between the safety violations imputed to Villagracia and the
as long as the absence of such lights was a proximate cause of the accident itself. Instead, he relied on a putative presumption that these
collision;48 however, the absence of such lights will not preclude or diminish violations in themselves sufficiently established negligence appreciable
recovery if the scene of the accident was well illuminated by street lights,49 if against Villagracia. Since the onus on Añonuevo is to conclusively prove the
substitute lights were present which clearly rendered the bicyclist visible,50 if link between the violations and the accident, we can deem him as having failed
the motorist saw the bicycle in spite of the absence of lights thereon,51 or if the to discharge his necessary burden of proving Villagracia’s own liability.
motorist would have been unable to see the bicycle even if it had been
equipped with lights.52 A bicycle equipped with defective or ineffective brakes Neither can we can adjudge Villagracia with contributory
may support a finding of negligence barring or diminishing recovery by an negligence.1âwphi1 The leading case in contributory negligence, Rakes v.
injured bicyclist where such condition was a contributing cause of the
Atlantic Gulf58 clarifies that damages may be mitigated if the claimant "in
conjunction with the occurrence, [contributes] only to his injury."59 To hold a
person as having contributed to his injuries, it must be shown that he
The above doctrines reveal a common thread. The failure of the bicycle owner performed an act that brought about his injuries in disregard of warnings or
to comply with accepted safety practices, whether or not imposed by ordinance signs of an impending danger to health and body.60 To prove contributory
or statute, is not sufficient to negate or mitigate recovery unless a causal negligence, it is still necessary to establish a causal link, although not
connection is established between such failure and the injury sustained. The proximate, between the negligence of the party and the succeeding injury. In
principle likewise finds affirmation in Sanitary Steam, wherein we declared that a legal sense, negligence is contributory only when it contributes proximately
the violation of a traffic statute must be shown as the proximate cause of the to the injury, and not simply a condition for its occurrence.61
injury, or that it substantially contributed thereto.54 Añonuevo had the burden
of clearly proving that the alleged negligence of Villagracia was the proximate
As between Añonuevo and Villagracia, the lower courts adjudged Añonuevo
or contributory cause of the latter’s injury. as solely responsible for the accident. The petition does not demonstrate why
this finding should be reversed. It is hard to imagine that the same result would
On this point, the findings of the Court of Appeals are well-worth citing: not have occurred even if Villagracia’s bicycle had been equipped with safety
equipment. Añonuevo himself admitted having seen Villagracia from ten (10)
[As] admitted by appellant Añonuevo, he first saw appellee Villagracia at a meters away, thus he could no longer claim not having been sufficiently
distance of about ten (10) meters before the accident. Corrolarily, therefore, warned either by headlights or safety horns. The fact that Añonuevo was
recklessly speeding as he made the turn likewise leads us to believe that even
if Villagracia’s bicycle had been equipped with the proper brakes, the cyclist
would not have had opportunity to brake in time to avoid the speeding car.
Moreover, it was incumbent on Añonuevo to have established that Villagracia’s
failure to have installed the proper brakes contributed to his own injury. The
fact that Añonuevo failed to adduce proof to that effect leads us to consider
such causal connection as not proven.

All told, there is no reason to disturb the assailed judgment.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals

is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

5. Yamada v. Manila Railroad Co. (33 Phil 11) automobile was secured at a certain price hour and was driven and controlled
by a chauffeur supplied by the taxicab company. The journey to Cavite Viejo
was made without incident but, on the return trip, while crossing the tracks of
defendant railroad company in the barrio of San Juan, municipality of Cavite
G.R. No. L-10073 December 24, 1915 Viejo, the automobile was struck by a train and the plaintiffs
injured.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
defendant, and BACHRACH GARAGE & TAXICAB CO., Defendant- The trial court dismissed the complaint on the merits as to the Manila Railroad
Appellant. Company and held the defendant taxicab company liable for damages to the
plaintiffs in various amounts. The taxicab company
appealed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

It appears from the record, and was found by the trial court, that the driver of
G.R. No. L-10074 December 24, 1915 the automobile drove his machine upon the railroad tracks without observing
the precautions which ordinary care and prudence would require, without
reducing speed and without taking any precaution looking to determining
KENJIRO KARABAYASHI, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. THE MANILA RAILROAD whether there was danger from a train or locomotive. The trial court
CO., defendant, and BACHRACH GARAGE & TAXICAB CO., Defendant- accordingly found that the driver was guilty of gross negligence and that said
Appellant. negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. It also found that the
driver had been, in effect, instructed by the taxicab company to approach and
pass over railroad tracks in the manner and form followed and observed on
the occasion in question, and that, for that reason, the taxicab company was
liable for the damages caused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
G.R. No. L-10075 December 24, 1915 law library

TAKUTARU UYEHARA, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. THE MANILA RAILROAD Several errors are assigned by the appellant. The first one relates to the finding
CO., defendant, and BACHRACH GARAGE & TAXICAB CO., Defendant- of the trial court: "That the driver of the automobile did not slacken speed,
Appellant. which was fast, upon approaching the railroad crossing, which was clearly
visible and had to be approached on an upward grade, or take any other
D.R. Williams for appellant. precaution to avert accident. ... and I can but conclude that the driver of the
Rohde and Wright for appellees. automobile was grossly negligent and careless in not taking such precaution
as would have notified him of the coming of the train. On the contrary, he
proceeded with reckless speed and regardless of possible or threatened
danger. If he had been driving the automobile at a proper rate of speed for
going over railroad crossing he could easily have stopped before going over
The three cases dealt with in this decision differ in their facts only with respect the railroad crossing after seeing the train."chanrobles virtual law library
to the injury suffered by the respective plaintiffs. The law applicable to them is
the same and, at the request of counsel, they will be decided at the same time.
The argument of the appellant which is devoted to this findings seems to admit
Plaintiffs claim damages against both the railroad and the garage company
impliedly at least that the driver of the automobile maintained his rate of speed
because of injuries suffered by them in a collision between a train owned by
as he approached and went upon the railroad crossing; and that he took no
and operated over tracks belonging to the railroad company and an automobile
precaution to ascertain the approach of a
the property of the Bachrach Garage & Taxicab
train.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Co.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The appellant contended on the trial and offered evidence to prove that, on
On January 2, 1913, the plaintiffs, together with three companions, hired an
approaching the railroad crossing from the direction in which the automobile
automobile from the defendant taxicab company for a trip to Cavite Viejo. The
was travelling at the time, the view of the railroad tracks in both directions was Manila by which they habitually drove their cars over railroad crossings in the
obstructed by bushes and trees growing alongside thereof, and that it was manner in which the automobile was driven by defendant's servant on the
impossible for a person approaching the crossing even though on guard, to occasion in controversy. To prove that custom counsel presents the evidence
detect by sight the approach of a train. If that were the case, it was clearly the of the president of the defendant company, Mr. Bachrach, who testified on the
duty of the driver to reduce the speed of his car and the noise thereof to such trial that all of his drivers, including the one in charge of the car on the night of
an extent that he would be able to determine from the unrestricted and the accident, operated cars in that manner and that it was the custom among
uninterrupted use of all his faculties whether or not a train was near. It is the automobile drivers generally. Counsel also cites the testimony of the witness
law that a person must use ordinary care and prudence in passing over a Palido, living near the scene of the accident, who testified that, as a general
railroad crossing. While we are not prepared to lay down any absolute rule as rule, automobiles passed over the railroad crossing without changing speed.
to what precise acts of precaution are necessary to be done or left undone by This testimony was corroborated by the defendant company's driver who had
a person who may have need to pass over a railroad crossing, we may say the automobile in charge at the time of the occurrence. Basing himself on this
that it is always incumbent on him to use ordinary care and diligence. What alleged custom counsel contends that "When a person does what is usual and
acts are necessary to constitute such care and diligence must depend on the customary, i. e., proceeds as he and others engaged in a like occupation have
circumstances of each particular case. The degree of care differs in different been accustomed to proceed, the action cannot be characterized as reckless,
cases. Greater care is necessary in crossing a road where the cars are running nor, strictly speaking as negligent." To this the obvious reply may be made, for
at a high rate of speed and close together than where they are running at less the moment admitting the existence of the custom, that a practice which is
speed and remote from one another. But in every case due care should be dangerous to human life cannot ripen into a custom which will protect anyone
exercised. It is very possible that where, on approaching a crossing, the view who follows it. To go upon a railroad crossing without making any effort to
of the tracks in both directions is unobstructed for such a distance as to render ascertain the approach of a train is so hazardous an act and one so dangerous
it perfectly safe to pass over without the use of any other faculty than sight, to life, that no one may be permitted to excuse himself who does it, provided
such use alone is sufficient and it is not necessary to stop or even to slacken injury result. One who performs an act so inherently dangerous cannot, when
speed or listen. On the other hand, where the view of the tracks is obstructed, an accident occurs, take refuge behind the plea that others have performed
them it is driver's duty to slacken speed, to reduce the noise, if any, of the the same act safely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
vehicle, to look and to listen, if necessary, or do any other act necessary to
determine that a train is not in dangerous proximity to the Under the second error assigned, the appellant contends with much vigor that
crossing.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library the plaintiffs cannot recover for the reason that the negligence of the driver of
the automobile, if any, was imputable to them, they having permitted the driver
In the case at bar the appellant's own showing is to the effect that the view of to approach and pass over the railroad crossing without the use of ordinary
the track in the direction from which the train was coming was obstructed in care and diligence to determine the proximity of a train or locomotive, and
such manner that neither the track nor a train could be seen as a traveler having made no effort to caution or instruct him or compel him to take
approached the crossing; and yet, in spite of that fact, the chauffeur drove reasonable care in making the crossing. With this contention we cannot agree.
upon the tracks without investigation or precaution of any kind. The very fact We think the better rule, and one more consonant with the weight of authority,
that a train was approaching and was so near as to collide with the automobile is that a person who hires a public automobile and gives the driver direction
is strong evidence of the fact that no precautions were taken to determine that as to the place to which he wishes to be conveyed, but exercise no other
fact. It is undoubted that if the driver had taken the simplest means of control over the conduct of the driver, is not responsible for acts of negligence
permitting his own faculties to exercise themselves fairly, there would have of the latter or prevented from recovering for injuries suffered from a collision
been no accident, as the presence of the train would have been discovered in between the automobile and a train, caused by the negligence either of the
an instant; but he chose, rather, to give his senses no opportunity to protect locomotive engineer or the automobile driver. (Little vs. Hackett, 116 U.S.,
him or his passengers and drove on the track at full speed with all the noise 366.) The theory on which the negligence of the driver has in some instances
which an automobile produces at such speed on an upgrade and the sense of been imputed to the occupant of the vehicle is that, having trusted the driver
hearing impaired by the rush of the wind. Railroad trains rarely pass over by selecting the particular conveyance, the plaintiff so far identified himself with
tracks without noise and their presence, generally speaking, is easily detected the owner and his servants that, in case of injury resulting from their
by persons who take ordinary precautions. negligence, he was considered a party thereto. This was the theory upon which
the case of Thorogood vs. Bryan (8 C.B., 115) was decided, which is the
Under this assignment the appellant's main effort is being to the demonstration leading case in favor of the principle contended for by appellant. The Supreme
of the fact that there was a custom established among automobile drivers of Court of the United States, however, in Little vs. Hackett (116 U.S., 366), had
this to say concerning the ground on which the Thorogood case was decided: determined by the trial court on all of the evidence in the case. (Duval vs.
"The truth is, the decision in Thorogood vs. Bryan rests upon indefensible Railroad Co., 134 N. C., 331; Hampel vs. Detroit etc. R. R. Co., 110 Am. St.
ground. The identification of the passenger with the negligent driver or the Rep., 275; Cotton vs. Willmar etc. R. R. Co., 99 Minn., 366; Shultz vs. Old
owner, without his personal cooperation or encouragement, is a gratuitous Colony Street Ry. Co., 193 Mass., 309; Wilson vs. Puget Sound Elec. Ry. Co.,
assumption. There is no such identity. The parties are not in the same position. 52 Wash., 522; Johnson vs. Coey, 237 Ill., 88; Hindu vs. Steere, 209 Mass.
The owner of public conveyance is a carrier, and the driver or the servant of 442.)chanrobles virtual law library
the passenger, and his asserted identity with them is contradicted by the daily
experience of the world."chanrobles virtual law library The appellant assigns as the third error the finding of the trial court "that the
defendant Manila Railroad Company was not guilty of negligence which
Further discussing the same question the court said: "There is no distinction contributed to the causing of the accident complained of."chanrobles virtual
in principle whether the passenger be on public conveyance like a railroad train law library
or an omnibus, or be on a hack hired from a public stand in the street for a
drive. Those on a hack do not become responsible for the negligence of the In this connection it appears that, prior to the beginning of the action now
driver if they exercise no control over him further than to indicate the route they before us, two actions were instituted, both growing out of the accident which
wish to travel or the places to which they wish to go. If he is their agent so that forms the basis of the actions before us: (1) A criminal action against the
his negligence can be imputed to them to prevent their recovery against a third engineer of the train, in which the engineer was acquitted; and (2) a civil action
party, he must be their agent in all other respects, so far as the management for damages by the garage and taxicab company, the appellant herein, against
of the carriage is concerned, and responsibility to third parties would attach to the defendant railroad company, for damages to the automobile which was
them for injuries caused by his negligence in the course of his employment. destroyed as a result of the accident, in which judgment was for defendant.
But, as we have already stated, responsibility cannot, within any recognized There is evidence in the record showing that the locomotive engineer gave
rules of law, be fastened upon one who has in no way interfered with and the due and timely signals on approaching the crossing in question. The trial court
with and controlled in the matter causing the injury. From the simple fact of found that the employees of the railroad company fully performed their duty as
hiring the carriage or riding in it no such liability can arise. The party hiring or the train approached the crossing on the night in question and that, therefore,
riding must in some way have cooperated in producing the injury complained the railroad company in nowise contributed to the accident. We do not believe
of before he incur any liability for it. 'If the law were otherwise,' as said by Mr. that the record will justify us in a reversal of this finding. There is abundant
Justice Depue in his elaborate opinion in the latest case in New Jersey, 'not evidence to support it and we have nothing before us by which that evidence
only the hirer of the coach but also all the passengers in it would be under a may be impeached. That the bell was rung and the whistle was blown on
constraint to mount the box and superintend the conduct of the driver in the nearing the crossing, giving due and timely warning to all persons
management and control of his team, or be put for remedy exclusively to an approaching, was testified to not only by servants of the corporation but by
action against the irresponsible driver or equally irresponsible owner of a passengers on the train. We find nothing in the record which materially impairs
coach taken, it may be, from a coach stand, for the consequences of an injury the credibility of these witnesses or to show that their evidence is improbable
which was the product of the cooperating wrongful acts of the driver and of a or unreasonable; and we would be going far under such circumstances in
third person, and that too, though the passengers were ignorant of the discarding it and reversing a judgment based
character of the driver, and of the responsibility of the owner of the team, and thereon.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
strangers to the route over which they were to be carried.' (New York, Lake
Erie & Western Railroad vs. Steinbrenner, 47 N.J.L. [18 Vroom], 161,
The appellant under this assignment of error presents other facts which he
171.)"chanrobles virtual law library claims show necessarily that the company was negligent. He asserts: "(1) That
this accident occurred in the heart of the barrio of San Juan (Cavite Viejo),
We are of the opinion, therefore, that the rule is as we have stated it. Ordinarily within approximately one hundred meters of the railroad station, that is, in a
where one rides in public vehicle with the driver thereof and is injured by the populous community; (2) that the railroad company did not maintain either a
negligence of a third person, to which negligence that of the driver contributes flagman or protecting gates at the grade crossing where the accident occurred,
his contributory negligence is not imputable to the passenger unless said while the sign "Railroad Crossing" was broken on the side toward the road; (3)
passenger has or is in the position to have and exercise some control over the that trees and undergrowth had been permitted to grow on and adjoining the
driver with reference to the matter wherein he was negligent. Whether the right of way and houses were constructed thereon, in such manner as to
person injured exercises any control over the conduct of the driver further than obstruct the view of persons approaching the railroad track until within a few
to indicate the place to which he wishes to drive is a question of fact to be meters thereof; and (4) that the approach to the crossing is twisting, and on
either side thereof are ditches about two meters deep."chanrobles virtual law The main contention of the appellant is based on the claim that, even admitting
library as proved all of the facts alleged by the plaintiffs, the appellant is not liable. It
is maintained that up to the time the accident occurred the defendant taxicab
With respect to the existence of trees and undergrowth on the railroad company had fully performed its duty to the public, it being undisputed in the
company's right of way, the evidence is conflicting, plaintiff maintaining and record that the driver was competent and had a long and satisfactory record,
attempting to prove that such trees and undergrowth existed, while defendant having driven cars for the defendant for 5 or 6 years without accident or
company contended and offered evidence to show that no such growth existed misadventure, and that his negligence, if any, in attempting to pass over the
at the time of the accident. On this conflict of evidence the trial court found: crossing on the occasion before us, cannot legally be imputed to the taxicab
"Evidence on the part of the defendant Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. is to company so as to make it liable for the damages resulting therefrom. In
the effect that the view from the crossing along the track towards Manila was supporting of this argument the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil., Rep., 663),
obstructed by bushes growing on the railroad right to way along the track, while is cited as determinative of the question under consideration. The appellant,
the preponderance of the evidence discloses that for a distance of twelve or however, having denied the fact of negligence, we might, before entering on a
fifteen meters from the a view of the track for a considerable distance is wholly discussion of the applicability of the principles enunciated in Johnson vs.
unobstructed, and I can but conclude that the driver of the unobstructed, and David to the facts before us, repeat what we have already said, that it appears
I can but conclude that the driver of the automobile was grossly negligent and from the record, and was found by the trial court, that the driver of the
careless in not taking such precaution as would have notified him of the coming automobile drove his machine upon the railroad tracks without observing the
of the train. On the contrary, he proceeded with reckless speed and regardless precautions which ordinary care and prudence would have required. He made
of possible or threatened danger."chanrobles virtual law library substantially no effort toward ascertaining whether there was danger from a
train or locomotive. The trial court found, as was quite necessary under the
facts, that the driver was guilty of gross negligence and that such negligence
Here again we are met with a contradiction in the evidence of witnesses who,
so far as appears, are equally entitled to credit, which conflict has been was the proximate cause of the accident. It also found that the taxicab
company had permitted its drivers to approach and pass over railroad tracks
resolved by the trial court in favor of the witnesses for the defendant railroad
company. Counsel for appellant has failed to give any reason why we should in the manner and form followed and observed on the occasion in question
we should accept the testimony of appellant's witnesses rather than those of until it had become a custom among its drivers, known and sanctioned by the
the railroad company and he has also neglected to point out any error company; and that, for that reason, the taxicab company was liable for the
damages caused. We are of the opinion that the trial court is fully supported in
committed by the trial court in making its finding in this regard. A careful
examination of the record discloses no reason why the judgment of the trial the finding that the conduct of the officials of the taxicab company, and notably
court on this point should be disturbed, there appearing nothing on which we the president thereof, amounted, in law, to a sanction of the custom
could base a judgment declaring that the trial court erred in making its established among its automobile drivers in passing over railroad crossings.
decision.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Counsel is met, therefore, at the opening of his discussion on this branch of
the case, with the question: Did the defendant taxicab company fully discharge
its duty when it furnished a suitable and proper car and selected driver who
As to the other facts set forth on which appellant predicates negligence on the had been with the company for 5 or 6 years and who had not had an accident
part of the railroad company, we find them, even if admitted, to be insufficient or misadventure before? We think not. It was the duty of the company not only
to establish negligence. It is not negligence on the part of the railroad company to furnish a suitable and proper car and select a competent operator, but also
to maintain grade crossing, even in populous district; nor is it negligence not to supervise and, where necessary, instruct him
to maintain a flagman at such crossing. It is true that a railroad company is properly.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
held to greater caution in the more thronged streets of the densely populated
portions of the city than in the less frequented streets in suburban parts or in
Returning now to the applicability of the case of Johnson vs. David to the facts
towns; but this does not mean that it is negligence to maintain grade crossing
in such densely populated portions or that it is negligence not to maintain a before us:chanrobles virtual law library
flagman at crossings located in such districts. It simply means that the
company in operating its trains over such crossings must exercise care The Civil Code, in dealing with the liability of a master for the negligent acts of
commensurate with the use of crossings in any given his servant, makes a distinction between private individuals and public
locality.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library enterprises. (Art. 1903, Civil Code.) That article, together with the preceding
article, is as follows:
ART 1902. A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another that "the owner of a game preserve shall be liable for damages caused by the
when there is fault or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so game to neighboring estates, should he not have done what may have been
done.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library necessary to avoid increase of the same or should he have hindered the efforts
of the owners of said estates to hunt;" 1907, which provides for the liability of
ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceding article is demandable, the owner of a building "for damages which may result from the collapse of the
not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for the persons for whom whole or a part thereof, if it should occur through the absence of necessary
they should be responsible.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law repairs;" 1908, which states that "owners shall be liable for damages caused
library by the explosion of machines which may not have been cared for with due
diligence, and been placed in a safe and proper place;" "by excessive smoke,
The father, and on his death or incapacity the mother is liable for the damages which may be noxious to persons of property;" "by the fall of trees, located in
places of transit, when not caused by force majeure;" "by the emanations of
caused by the minors who live with
them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library sewers or deposits of infectious matters, when constructed without
precautions proper for the place where they are located;" and "the head of a
family who dwells in a house, or in a part of the same, is liable for the damages
Guardians are liable for the damages caused by minors or incapacitated by the things which may be thrown or which may fall therefrom."chanrobles
persons who are under their authority and live with virtual law library
them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
These are the only cases under the Civil Code in which damages may be
Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the recovered from the master for the negligent of his servant. As is seen from a
damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which reading of article 1903, a person being driven about by his servant's negligent
the latter may be employed or on account of their acts except under certain circumstances. (Chapman vs. Underwood, 27 Phil.,
duties.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Rep., 374; Johnson vs. David, supra.) On the other hand, the master is liable
for the negligent acts of his servant where he is the owner or director of a
The State is liable in this sense when it acts through a special agent, but not business or enterprise and the negligent acts are committed while the servant
when the damage should have been caused by the official to whom properly it is engaged in his master's employment as such
pertained to do the act performed, in which case the provisions of the owner.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
proceeding article shall be applicable.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library The distinction made in the Code has been observed, as would naturally be
expected, by the decisions of this court. In the case of Johnson vs.
Finally, master or directors of arts and trades are liable for the damages David, supra, we held that the defendant was not liable for the acts of his
caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their servant in negligently driving a horse and carriage against plaintiff, who was at
custody.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library the time riding a bicycle in the streets of Manila, throwing him to the ground
and injuring him and his bicycle. It appeared in that case that the vehicle was
The liability referred to in this articles shall cease when the persons mentioned owned by the defendant, that it was being driven by the defendant's coachman
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family on the private affairs of the owner, that it was not a public conveyance driven
to avoid the damage. for hire or as a part of a business or enterprise. In that case we said: "It would
seem, from an examination of these various provisions, that the obligation to
These two articles are found under chapter 2, title 16, of the Civil Code, dealing respond for the negligent acts of another was limited to the particular cases
with "obligations which arise from fault or negligence;" and set out the cases, mentioned; in other words, we are of the opinion and so hold that it was the
generally speaking, in which the master is liable for the acts of his servant. intention of the legislature in enacting said chapter 2 to enumerate all the
That chapter also contains articles providing for liability for negligent acts of persons for whose negligent acts third persons are responsible. Article 1902
servants in special cases, among them 1905, which provides that "the provides when a person himself is liable for negligence. Articles 1903, 1904,
possessor of an animal, or the one who uses it, is liable for the damages it 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910 provide when a person shall be liable for
may cause even when said animal escapes from him or strays," but that this injuries caused, not by his own negligence but by the negligence of other
liability shall cease "in the case the damage should arise from force majeure or persons or things.
from the fault of the person who may have suffered it;" 1906, which declares
xxx xxx xxx In the case before us it does not appear from the record that, from the time the
automobile took the wrong side of the road to the commission of the injury,
These sections do not include a liability on the part of the plaintiff for injuries sufficient time intervened to afford the defendant an opportunity correct the act
resulting from acts of negligence such as are complained of in the present of his driver. Instead, it appears with fair clearness that the interval between
cause . . . ."chanrobles virtual law library the turning out to meet and pass the street car and the happening of the
accident was so short as not to be sufficient to charge defendant with the
These case of Chapman vs. Underwood, (27 Phil., Rep., 374) was similar in negligence of the driver.
its facts and the principles governing it, to that of Johnson vs. David. In that
case the plaintiff, while about to board a street car, was struck by an The case of Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil., Rep., 624), was a case
automobile which, at the time, was being driven on the wrong side of the street. of a different character. There an automobile was being operated by the
The automobile was in charge of the servant of the owner, who was present defendant as a public vehicle carrying passengers from Balayan to Tuy
in the automobile at the time the accident occurred. The automobile was not a (Province of Batangas) and return for hire. On one to the trips, the machine,
part of defendant's business nor was it being used at the time as a part or by reason of a defect in the steering gear, refused to respond to the guidance
adjunct of any business or enterprise owned or conducted by him. Although of the driver and, as a result a child was run over and killed. That case, as is
the act of the driver was negligent, and was so declared by this court, it was, seem at a glance, is quite different from the case of Johnson vs. David and
nevertheless, held that the master was not liable for the results of the act. We that of Chapman vs. Underwood, in that the automobile was operated as a
said: business or enterprise on which the defendant had entered for gain; and this
is the particular distinction which is made in article 1903 of the Civil Code which
holds the masters responsible for the negligent acts of the servant when the
The defendant, however, is not responsible for the negligence of his driver,
master is the owner "of an establishment or enterprise," and the acts
under the facts and circumstances of this case. As we have said in the case
of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil., Rep., 663), the driver does not fall within the list complained of are committed within the scope of the servant's employment in
of person in article 1903 of the Civil Code for whose acts the defendant would such business. In the case under discussion we held that, in addition to the
be responsible.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library requirement to furnish and use proper and safe machines, it was the duty of a
person or corporation operating automobiles for hire to exercise ordinary care
and diligence in the selection of the drivers of his or its automobiles and in
Although in the David case the owner of the vehicle was not present at the supervision over them while in his or its employ, including the promulgation of
time the alleged negligent acts were committed by the driver, the same rule proper rules and regulations and the formulation and due publication of proper
applies where the owner is present, unless the negligent acts of the driver are instructions for their guidance in cases where such rules, regulations and the
continued for such a length of time as to give the owner a reasonable formulation and due publication of proper instructions for their guidance in
opportunity to observe them and to direct his driver to desist therefrom. An cases where such rules, regulations and instruction are necessary. Discussion
owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and permits his driver to article 1903 of the Civil Code, which, as we have seen, not only established
continue in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent acts, after he liability in case of negligence but also provides when that liability ceases, the
has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that the driver, court in that case said:
becomes himself responsible for such acts. The owner of an automobile who
permits his chauffeur to drive up the Escolta, for example, at a speed of 60
From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by
miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a reasonable
opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both criminally and civilly, the negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption
for the results produced by the acts of his chauffeur. On the other hand, if the of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either
driver, by a sudden act of negligence, and without the owner having a in the selection of the selection of the servant or employee or in supervision
reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance, injures a person over him after the selection, or both; and (2) that that presumption is juris
tantum and not juris et de jure and consequently may be rebutted. It follows
or violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile, although present
therein at the time the act was committed, is not responsible, either civilly or necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in
criminally, therefor. The act complained of must be continued in the presence selection and supervision he has exercised the care and diligence of a good
father of a family, the presumption is overcome and he is relieved from
of the owner for such a length of time that the owner, by his acquiescence,
liability.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
makes his driver's act his own.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on same time, remove it from that class of cases governed by Johnson vs. David.
his own negligence and not on that of his servant. This is the notable Not only has the defendant taxicab company failed to rebut the presumption
peculiarity of the Spanish law of negligence. It is, of course, in striking contrast of negligence arising from the carelessness of its servant, but it has, in effect,
to the American doctrine that, in relations with strangers, the negligence of the made those negligent acts its own by having observed and known the custom
servant is conclusively the negligence of the of its drivers without disapproving it and without issuing instructions designed
master.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library to supersede it.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

In the case before us the death of the child caused by a defect in the steering We are of the opinion that the trial court erred in fixing the amount of damages
gear of the automobile immediately raised the presumption that Leynes was which the plaintiffs suffered. Under the law, each of the plaintiffs, is entitled to
negligent in selecting a defective automobile or in his failure to maintain it in recover the time, doctors' bills and hospital bills and hospital bills and
good condition after selection and the burden of proof was on him to show that medicines, and any other item of expense which it was found necessary to
he had exercised the care of a good father of a family. undergo by reason of the damages
sustained.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In that case we further said: "From the commencement of the use of the
machine until the accident occurred sufficient time had not elapsed to require The plaintiff Butaro Yamada is entitled to be reimbursed for his hospital bill of
an examination of the machine by the defendant as a part of his duty of P49, for the P50 which he paid to Dr. Strahan, and for the loss of time which
inspection and supervision. While it does not appear that the defendant he suffered at the rate of P100 a month. The trial court allowed him for certain
formulated rules and regulations for the guidance of the drivers and gave them alleged fees of doctors and expenses in hospitals and at hot springs in Japan.
proper instructions, designed for the protection of the public and the He was also allowed P150 alleged by him to have been paid to a Japanese
passengers, the evidence shows, as we have seen, that the death of the child doctor in Manila. We do not believe that the record warrants these allowances.
was not caused by a failure to promulgate rules and regulations. It was caused As to the expenses in Japan, we may say that the injury occurred to plaintiff
by a defect in the machine as to which the defendant has shown himself free on the 2nd of January and he remained in Manila for nearly 6 months before
from responsibility."chanrobles virtual law library going to Japan. According to the testimony of Dr. Strahan the plaintiff was in
good physical condition long before he left this country for Japan. His
We, therefore, see that taxicab company did not perform its full duty when it testimony is to the effect that the plaintiff suffered no permanent injuries, the
furnished a safe and proper car and a driver with a long and satisfactory damage being limited to temporary shocks and bruises, and that he would be
record. It failed to comply with one of the essential requirements of the law of ready for his usual occupation in about 3 months. According to plaintiff's own
negligence in this jurisdiction, that of supervision and instruction, including the testimony he went back to work 2 months after the injury, but, claiming he still
promulgation of proper rules and regulations and the formulation and felt pains, went to Japan. We do not believe that we ought to accept the
publication of proper instructions for their guidance in cases where such rules plaintiff's bare statement as to his physical condition after leaving the
and regulations and instructions are necessary. To repeat, it was found by the Philippine Islands in defiance of the testimony of Dr. Strahan as to his physical
trial court, and that finding is fully sustained by the record, that it was the condition 3 months after the injury was received and particularly in view of the
custom of the driver who operated the machine on the night of the accident, to fact that he returned to work at the end of 2 months. As to the P150 alleged to
approach and pass over railroad crossings without adequate precautions, and have been paid to a Japanese doctor in Manila, we have grave doubts whether
that such custom was known to and had been sanctioned by the officials of he had sufficiently proved that item of expenditure. He does not give the name
the taxicab company, the president of the company testifying that none of its of the physician to whom he paid the money and he presents no receipt or
drivers, especially the one who operated the car on the night of the accident, voucher from the person whom he paid. He made no memorandum of the
were accustomed to stop or even reduce speed or take any other precaution payment at the time or of the person to whom he paid it or of the date on which
in approaching and passing over railroad crossings, no matter of what nature, it was paid. All of his testimony relating to the items which constitute his
unless they heard "the signal of a car." He testified that he himself had ridden damage was based on a memorandum made from memory on the morning of
behind several of his drivers, among them the one who handled the automobile the trial. It seems to us that where the sources of knowledge are to so large
on the night of the accident, and that it was settled practice, to which he made an extent within the knowledge and control of the person who presents the
no objection and as to which he gave no instructions, to approach and pass evidence, he should be held rather strictly to presenting the best evidence that
over railroad crossings without any effort to ascertain the proximity of a train. the circumstances permit. If he had offered the Japanese doctor as a witness
These facts and circumstances bring the case within the doctrine enunciated or if he had even produced receipts from him, the matter would have borne
in the Litonjua case to which reference has already been made, and, at the
quite a different aspect.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law This plaintiff complains of loss of memory as the only result of his injuries and
library claims that he is unable to obtain a salary equivalent to that which he was
receiving before the accident. He presents no evidence of such loss of memory
We are accordingly of the opinion that the judgment in favor of this plaintiff except his own statement, his physical condition at the time of the trial being
should consist simply of the loss of time, amounting to 2 months at P100 a apparently perfect and there being at that time no evidence, as he himself
month, his hospital bill of P49 and his doctor's bill of P50, in all P299, with admitted, of loss of memory. He presented no doctor to testify as to services
costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library rendered, indeed, he does not even furnish the name of the person to whom
the money was paid, and he shows no receipts and produces no evidence
With respect to the plaintiff Takutaru Uyehara, the judgment in his favor must except his own statement with respect to the amount paid out for medicines.
be also modified. Concerning his condition we have substantially the same We believe that, under this testimony, no damages should be allowed to this
plaintiff except possibly salary for the short period during which, by reason of
testimony by the same doctor that we had in the case of Yamada. There were
no permanent injuries. The plaintiff suffered merely from shock and bruises. shock, he may have been unable to render active service. He testified that he
He was quite recovered in 3 months. It appears that he was earning P200 a lost two and one-half months' time, during which he did not work at all, and
that his services were worth P160 a
month at the time of his injury and that his hospital expense, including
attendance of a physician, was P350. We are satisfied from the record that he month.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
is entitled to P600 for 3 months' loss of wages and to P350 for hospital
expenses and medical attendance. As to the claim for P150 paid to a Japanese The judgment of the Court of First Instance with respect to this plaintiff, Kenjiro
doctor, we have in substance the same circumstances found in connection Karabayashi, is modified and judgment in his favor and against the Bachrach
with the claim of the plaintiff Yamada, - no name, no date, no memorandum, Garage & Taxicab Co. for P400 is hereby decreed, with
no receipt; nothing but the testimony of the plaintiff himself based upon date costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
prepared from memory. It is worthy of note also that both this plaintiff and
plaintiff Yamada claim to have paid exactly the same amount to Japanese It may be urged that the reductions in the amounts allowed the several plaintiffs
doctors in Manila.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library by the trial court are arbitrary, the evidence as to the damages sustained being
uncontradicted and the trial court having based its judgment thereon. It is clear,
Judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Takutaru Uyehara for the however, that we are in no way interfering with the rule so many times laid
sum of P950, and costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law down by this court that we will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court
library as to the credibility of witnesses except where it appears that the court
overlooked or misapplied facts or circumstances of weight and influence
appearing in the case. Here the trial court seems to have overlooked those
With respect to the judgment in favor of the plaintiff Kenjiro Karabayashi, we
facts and circumstances top which we have adverted and which we have made
are clear that it must be reduced in amount. This plaintiff was able, immediately
the basis of the modification. It nowhere appears in the decision of the trial
after the accident occurred, to move about readily an to assist his injured
court or elsewhere in the record that it took any of those facts and
companions. He did not go to a hospital, or, so far as appeared, consult a
physician until some time after the accident. He alleges that he paid to circumstances into consideration. So ordered.
Japanese doctors P310 and to massage doctors P130, and that he paid P365
for medicines. The injury was received on the 2d of January, 1913, and this
caution was commenced in October of the same year. It seem to us incredible
that the plaintiff, who suffered and suffers from no physical injury testified to
by any physician, should have paid out during that time more than P800 for
medicines and doctors. That sum exceeds the sums claimed to have been
paid out by the other plaintiffs, who were so badly injured that they were carried
in a semiconscious condition to the hospital and were unable to move without
assistance for some days.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
6. Martinez v. William Van Buskirk (GR No. L-5691) a safe and reliable cochero; that the delivery wagon had sent to deliver
some forage at Paco Livery Stable on Calle Herran, and that for the
purpose of delivery thereof the cochero driving the team as
defendant's employee tied the driving lines of the horses to the front
G.R. No. L-5691 December 27, 1910 end of the delivery wagon and then went back inside of the wagon for
the purpose of unloading the forage to be delivered; that while
unloading the forage and in the act of carrying some of it out, another
S. D. MARTINEZ and his wife, CARMEN ONG DE MARTINEZ, plaintiffs- vehicle drove by, the driver of which cracked a whip and made some
appellees, other noises, which frightened the horses attached to the delivery
vs. wagon and they ran away, and the driver was thrown from the inside
WILLIAM VAN BUSKIRK, defendant-appellant. of the wagon out through the rear upon the ground and was unable to
stop the horses; that the horses then ran up and on which street they
Lionel D. Hargis for appellant. came into collision with the carromata in which the plaintiff, Carmen
Sanz and Oppisso for appellee. Ong de Martinez, was riding.

The defendant himself was not with the vehicle on the day in question.

Upon these facts the court below found the defendant guilty of negligence and
MORELAND, J.: gave judgment against him for P442.50, with interest thereon at the rate of 6
per cent per annum from the 17th day of October, 1908, and for the costs of
The facts found by the trial court are undisputed by either party in this case. the action. The case is before us on an appeal from that judgment.
They are —
There is no general law of negligence in the Philippine Islands except that
That on the 11th day of September, 1908, the plaintiff, Carmen Ong embodied in the Civil Code. The provisions of that code pertinent to this case
de Martinez, was riding in a carromata on Calle Real, district of Ermita, are —
city of Manila, P.I., along the left-hand side of the street as she was
going, when a delivery wagon belonging to the defendant used for the Art. 1902. A person who by an act or omission causes damage to
purpose of transportation of fodder by the defendant, and to which was another when there is fault or negligence shall be obliged to repair the
attached a pair of horses, came along the street in the opposite damage so done.
direction to that the in which said plaintiff was proceeding, and that
thereupon the driver of the said plaintiff's carromata, observing that Art. 1903. The obligation imposed by preceding article is demandable,
the delivery wagon of the defendant was coming at great speed, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the
crowded close to the sidewalk on the left-hand side of the street and persons for whom they should be responsible.
stopped, in order to give defendant's delivery wagon an opportunity to
pass by, but that instead of passing by the defendant's wagon and
horses ran into the carromata occupied by said plaintiff with her child The father, and on his death or incapacity the mother, is liable for the
damages caused by the minors who live with them.
and overturned it, severely wounding said plaintiff by making a serious
cut upon her head, and also injuring the carromata itself and the
harness upon the horse which was drawing it. Guardians are liable for the damages caused by minors or
incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live with
xxx xxx xxx them.

These facts are not dispute, but the defendant presented evidence to Owners of directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable
the effect that the cochero, who was driving his delivery wagon at the for the damages caused by the employees in the service of the
time the accident occurred, was a good servant and was considered branches in which the latter may be employed or on account of their
The State is liable in this sense when it acts through a special agent, Spanish or American jurisprudence. (Lynch vs. Nurdin, 1 Q. B., 422;
but not when the damages should have been caused by the official to Rumsey vs. Nelson, 58 Vt., 590; Drake vs. Mount, 33 N. J. L., 442; Hoboken
whom properly it pertained to do the act performed, in which case the Land and Improvement Co. vs. Lally, 48 N. J. L., 604; Wasmer vs. D. L. & W.
provisions of the preceding article shall be applicable. R. R. Co., 80 N. Y., 212.)

Finally, masters or directors of arts and trades are liable for the In the case of Hayman vs. Hewitt (Peake N. P. Cas., pt. 2, p. 170), Lord
damages caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under Kenyon said:
their custody.
He was performing his duty while removing the goods into the house,
The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons and, if every person who suffered a cart to remain in the street while
mentioned therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good he took goods out of it was obliged to employ another to look after the
father of a family to avoid the damage. horses, it would be impossible for the business of the metropolis to go
Passing the question whether or not an employer who has furnished a gentle
and tractable team and a trusty and capable driver is, under the last paragraph In the case of Griggs vs. Fleckenstein (14 Minn., 81), the court said:
of the above provisions, liable for the negligence of such driver in handling the
team, we are of the opinion that the judgment must be reversed upon the The degree of care required of the plaintiff, or those in charged of his
ground that the evidence does not disclose that the cochero was negligent. horse, at the time of the injury, is that which would be exercised by a
person of ordinary care and prudence under like circumstances. It can
While the law relating to negligence in this jurisdiction may possibly be some not be said that the fact of leaving the horse unhitched is in itself
what different from that in Anglo-Saxon countries, a question we do not now negligence. Whether it is negligence to leave a horse unhitched must
discuss, the rules under which the fact of negligence is determined are, be depend upon the disposition of the horse; whether he was under
nevertheless, generally the same. That is to say, while the law designating the observation and control of some person all the time, and many
the person responsible for a negligent act may not be the same here as in other circumstances; and is a question to be determined by the jury
many jurisdictions, the law determining what is a negligent act is the same from the facts of each case.
here, generally speaking, as elsewhere. (Supreme court of Spain, 4
December, 1903; 16 May, 1893; 27 June, 1894; 9 April, 1896; 14 March, 1901; In the case of Belles vs. Kellner (67 N. J. L., 255), it was held that it was error
2 March, 1904; 7 February, 1905; 16 June, 1905; 23 June, 1905; 13 April, on the part of the trial court to refuse to charge that "it is not negligence for the
1903; 7 March, 1902; 12 June, 1900; 2 March, 1907; 18 March, 1898; 3 June, driver of a quite, gentle horse to leave him unhitched and otherwise unattended
1901.) on the side of a public highways while the driver is upon the sidewalk loading
goods on the wagon." The said court closed its opinion with these words:
It appears from the undisputed evidence that the horses which caused the
damage were gentle and tractable; that the cochero was experienced and There was evidence which could have fully justified the jury in finding
capable; that he had driven one of the horses several years and the other five that the horse was quite and gentle, and that the driver was upon the
or six months; that he had been in the habit, during all that time, of leaving sidewalk loading goods on the wagon, at time of the alleged injury,
them in the condition in which they were left on the day of the accident; that and that the horse had been used for years in that way without
they had never run away up to that time and there had been, therefore, no accident. The refusal of the trial court to charge as requested left the
accident due to such practice; that to leave the horses and assist in unloading jury free to find was verdict against the defendant, although the jury
the merchandise in the manner described on the day of the accident was the was convinced that these facts were
custom of all cochero who delivered merchandise of the character of that which
was being delivered by the cochero of the defendant on the day in question, In the case of Southworth vs. Ry. Co. (105 Mass., 342), it was held:
which custom was sanctioned by their employers.
That evidence that a servant, whom traders employed to deliver
In our judgment, the cochero of the defendant was not negligent in leaving the goods, upon stopping with his horse and wagon to deliver a parcel at
horses in the manner described by the evidence in this case, either under a house from fifty to a hundred rods from a railroad crossing, left the
horse unfastened for four or five minutes while he was in the house, There was presented in this case, and by the plaintiffs themselves, not only
knowing that it was not afraid of cars, and having used it for three or the fact of the runway and the accident resulting therefrom, but also the
four months without ever hitching it or knowing it to start, is not conditions under which the runaway occurred. Those conditions showing of
conclusive, as a matter of law, of a want of due care on his part. themselves that the defendant's cochero was not negligent in the management
of the horse, the prima facie case in plaintiffs' favor, if any, was destroyed as
The duty, a violation of which is claimed to be negligence in the respect in soon as made.
question, is to exercise reasonable care and prudence. Where reasonable
care is employed in doing an act not itself illegal or inherently likely to produce It is a matter of common knowledge as well as proof that it is the universal
damage to others, there will be no liability, although damage in fact ensues. practice of merchants to deliver merchandise of the kind of that being delivered
(Milwaukee Ry. Co. vs. Arms, 91 U. S., 489; Parrott vs. Wells, 15 Wall., 524; at the time of the injury, in the manner in which that was then being delivered;
Brown vs. Kendall, 6 Cushing, 292; Jackson Architectural Iron and that it is the universal practice to leave the horses in the manner in which
Works vs.Hurlbut, 158 N. Y., 34 Westerfield vs. Levis, 43 La. An., 63; they were left at the time of the accident. This is the custom in all cities. It has
Niosi vs. Empire Steam Laundry, 117 Cal., 257.) not been productive of accidents or injuries. The public, finding itself
unprejudiced by such practice, has acquiesced for years without objection.
The act of defendant's driver in leaving the horses in the manner proved was Ought the public now, through the courts, without prior objection or notice, to
not unreasonable or imprudent. Acts the performance of which has not proved be permitted to reverse the practice of decades and thereby make culpable
destructive or injurious and which have, therefore, been acquiesced in by and guilty one who had every reason and assurance to believe that he was
society for so long a time that they have ripened into custom, can not be held acting under the sanction of the strongest of all civil forces, the custom of a
to be themselves unreasonable or imprudent. Indeed the very reason why they people? We think not.
have been permitted by society is that they beneficial rather than prejudicial.itc-
alf Accidents sometimes happen and injuries result from the most ordinary The judgement is reversed, without special finding as to costs. So ordered.
acts of life. But such are not their natural or customary results. To hold that,
because such an act once resulted in accident or injury, the actor is necessarily
negligent, is to go far. The fact that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is
sometimes successfully invoked in such a case, does not in any sense militate
against the reasoning presented. That maxim at most only creates aprima
facie case, and that only in the absence of proof of the circumstances under
which the act complained of was performed. It is something invoked in favor
of the plaintiff before defendant's case showing the conditions and
circumstances under which the injury occurred, the creative reason for the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur disappears. This is demonstrated by the case
of Inland and Seaboard Costing Co. vs. Tolson (139 U.S., 551), where the
court said (p. 554):

. . . The whole effect of the instruction in question, as applied to the

case before the jury, was that if the steamboat, on a calm day and in
smooth water, was thrown with such force against a wharf properly
built, as to tear up some of the planks of the flooring, this would
be prima facie evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant's
agent in making the landing, unless upon the whole evidence in the
case this prima facie evidence was rebutted. As such damage to a
wharf is not ordinarily done by a steamboat under control of her
officers and carefully managed by them, evidence that such damage
was done in this case was prima facie, and, if unexplained, sufficient
evidence of negligence on their part, and the jury might properly be so
7. People v. Vistan (GR No. 17218) middle of the entrance. When he had his right foot on the platform, the
conductor in charge of the car, the accused herein, gave the signal to start.
Thereupon the car suddenly moved forward with a jerk thus causing his left
hand to slip off while the right one was pinioned between the iron bar and the
G.R. No. 17218 September 8, 1921 woodwork upon which it was fixed and he was unable to draw it out
immediately due to the speed of the car. In the meantime he was momentarily
dragged along and when his knees were touching the ground, he felt that his
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, left foot had become numb, unaware that his foot was overrun by the wheel,
vs. until he was on the ground about 10 meters, more or less, from the place where
NARCISO VISTAN Y DE LA CRUZ, defendant-appellant. the car had started.

Ross & Lawrence, and Ewald E. Selph for appellant. The defense tried to prove that the street car being in motion, the offended
Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee. party ran after it and attempted to board it, but unfortunately missed the
running board and upon falling down one of his feet was caught by the wheels
VILLAMOR, J.: of the car. The witnesses who testified to this fact undoubtedly referred to the
fact related by the aggrieved party himself when he gave the tails as to how
The appellant was prosecuted in the Court of First Instance of Manila for the he was for a time dragged by the car. It was not necessary for the offended
crime of serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence and sentenced party to run after the car in order to board it, as it was stopped when his two
to imprisonment for three months of arresto mayor, with the corresponding sons entered it, behind whom he was with his hands holding the bars of the
accessory penalties and to pay the costs. car, and was then placing his right foot on the running board when the car
started in response to the signal to start given at that very moment by the
The complaint is as follows: accused. The fact is that due probably to the abrupt motion of the car in
starting, the left hand of the offended party slipped off and his right hand was
caught between the iron bar and woodwork upon which it was attached and
That on or about the 10th day of April, 1920, in the city of Manila,
having lost the equilibrium he was dragged along for a short distance until his
Philippine Islands, while street car No. 203 of the Manila Electric
left foot was caught by the wheels of the car. This fact, which was seen by the
Railroad and Light Co. was receiving passengers at the intersection
witness Lawson who was some distance behind the car, might cause the
of M. H. del Pilar and Isaac Peral Streets of this city, said accused,
impression that the offended party was running after the car when he fell down,
who was then and there the conductor in charge of said street car, did
and, we believe, the witness testified under this impression.
then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously and with reckless
imprudence signal the motorman to go ahead without minding and
without taking into account that one Hugo Borromeo, whom he could We believe it to be clear that at the time of boarding the car, the offended party
then see was at that very moment about to board the car with one foot was watching the man who gave the signal to start, that is, the conductor, and
on the running board, thereby causing the said Hugo Borromeo to be the latter, who, had his eyes toward the door, seeing the nobody was alighting
thrown down by the jerk of the moving car and his foot overrun by the or boarding the car, rang the bell, whereupon the car started. It is not
rear wheels of said car No. 203 upon falling on the ground, with the improbable that when the accused saw the last passenger with both hands
result that his left foot was crushed and injured to such an extent as to clinging to the holding device of the car and one foot on the running board, he
require medical attendance and prevent the said offended party from thought that the passenger had completely boarded the car and that is why he
engaging in his habitual work for a period of more than ninety days; gave the signal to start. The question that present itself is whether or not the
that due to said accident Hugo Borromeo lost his left foot which had accused acted with reckless negligence as alleged in the information.
to be amputated. Contrary to law.
In the case of U.S. vs. Gomez (R. G. No. 14068),1 the accused was convicted
It appears from the record that on April 10, 1920, after two sons of the offended of the crime of homicide through reckless negligence. The accused was the
the street car No. 203 which had stopped at the intersection of M. H. del Pilar motorman of a street car that collided with a carabao cart at the intersection of
and Isaac Peral Streets of this city, and also in attempting to board the same Concepcion and Arroceros Streets of the city of Manila. As a result of the
car, the said Hugo Borromeo with his right hand took a hold of the iron bar on collision, one of the occupants of the cart, Santos Alcartado, was thrown under
the right side of the only entrance door, and with the left the iron bar in the
the car and killed. In discussing the responsibility of the accused, this court, "Reckless imprudence consists in doing or not doing
among other things, said: voluntarily, but without malice, an act, from which material
injury results due to lack of foresight, unexcusable on the part
Upon the other point, whether the negligence or imprudence of the of the person executing or omitting to do it." (Decision of the
accused can properly be denominated rash it is to be observed that supreme court of Spain, May 14, 1904, referred to by Viada in
the amount of care and diligence which a man is required to use in a his Commentaries, 5 Supp., 457.)
particular situation in order to avoid the imputation of negligence
varies with the obviousness of the risk. If the danger of doing injury to "Reckless imprudence, punishable as crime, consists in the
the person or property of another by the pursuance of a certain line of lack of prevision and rational precaution with which all acts
conduct is great, the individual who proposes to pursue that particular must be executed, from which probable injury or damage may
course is bound to use great care in order to avoid the foreseeable easily result." (Decision of the supreme court of Spain, March
harm. On the other hand, if the danger is slight, only a slight amount 16, 1905, referred to by Viada in his Commentaries, 5 Supp.,
of care is required. It is thus seen that there are infinite shades of care 461.)
or diligence, from the slightest momentary thought or transient glance
of attention to the most vigilant anxiety and solicitude, and whether a The distinction between simple imprudence, which is a constitutive
person is bound to use a high or a low degree of care depends upon element of a misdemeanor under article 590 of the Penal Code, and
the situation presented in the particular case. Now the term negligence rash imprudence, which is a constitutive element of the offense
is used to indicate the legal delinquency which results wherever a man punishable under article 580 of the same Code, is not clearly indicated
fails to exhibit the care which he ought to exhibit, whether it be slight, in the books; but we think the weight of authority will be found to
ordinary or great; and it is clear that in a situation where immediate support the proposition that where immediate personal harm,
danger to an individual is indicated the requirement for the exercise of preventable in the exercise of reasonable care, is threatened to a
a high degree of care is more exigent than where nothing more than human being by reason of a course of conduct which is being pursued
possible harm to inanimate things is concerned. As experience only by another, and the danger is visible and consciously appreciated by
too well teaches collisions between cars and vehicles carrying people the actor, the failure to use reasonable care to prevent the threatened
in the streets are fraught with a high degree of danger to the injury constitutes reckless negligence.
passengers, and it results that a high degree of care is required of
those who have control of the agencies involving such danger. The
Simple imprudence, on the other hand, is a mere lack of prevision in
failure to use the requisite care in such cases is properly denominated a situation where either the threatened harm is not immediate or the
gross negligence or rash imprudence if the actor, having at his danger is not openly visible. The following is cited in Viada as a case
command the means of avoiding the harm, fails to avail himself of it.
of simple imprudence: A man goes hunting and raises his gun to shoot
at a bird. Upon lowering the gun without firing, he negligently fails to
The term "rash imprudence," as used in the Spanish Code, would lower the hammer; and while the gun is being thus carried cocked, it
seem to be approximately equivalent to the "gross negligence" of the is accidentally discharged with the result that a person casually in
common law; and as was once observed by a brilliant English judge, range of the gun is wounded. As will be seen in this case, although
gross negligence is only negligence with a vituperative epithet (Rolfe, there is imprudence on the part of the hunter, there is not a conscious
B., in Wilson vs. Brett [1843], Mees. and Wels., 113). The same may advertance to the danger to which the other person is being subjected.
substantially be said of the term "rash imprudence" in Spanish law. It Said the court:
is imprudence with a vituperative epithet. In common usage the word
"rash" seems sometimes to imply a wanton disregard of "The fact set forth as proved in the first finding of the court
consequences, indicative of a state of mind bordering upon deliberate
below is not sufficiently such as would indicate real reckless
intention to inflict a positive injury. The legal import of the expression imprudence on the part of Cecilio Mogarra, inasmuch as the
is in our opinion of somewhat greater latitude, since it wholly excludes act of lowering his gun ad putting it under his arm without
the idea of malice and under conditions more readily felt than defined
lowering the hammer, which constitute negligence, does not
is satisfied by proof of mere lack of foresight.
show grave fault, but only mere lack of foresight chargeable
as simple imprudence." (Decision of the supreme court of
Spain, March 12, 1904, referred to by Viada in his
Commentaries, 5 Supp., 457.)

Taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case at bar, we are of
the opinion that the act of the accused in giving the order to start the car, when
the offended party had his hands already on the holding devices of the car and
his foot on the running board, constitutes carelessness or negligence, but does
not show grave fault amounting to reckless imprudence and the accused
having acted with simple imprudence or negligence, has incurred the penalty
provided by article 590, case No. 4, of the Penal Code.

The judgment appealed from is modified, and the accused and appellant is
sentenced to pay a fine of 60 pesetas and to suffer the corresponding
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to censure, with the costs
of this instance de oficio. So ordered.
8. Negros Navigation Co Inc. v. CA (GR No. 110398) listed in the passenger manifest; and that the Don Juan left Pier 2, North
Harbor, Manila on April 22, 1980 and sank that night after being rammed by
the oil tanker M/T Tacloban City, and that, as a result of the collision, some of
the passengers of the M/V Don Juan died. Petitioner, however, denied that the
four relatives of private respondents actually boarded the vessel as shown by
the fact that their bodies were never recovered. Petitioner further averred that
[G.R. No. 110398. November 7, 1997] the Don Juan was seaworthy and manned by a full and competent crew, and
that the collision was entirely due to the fault of the crew of the M/T Tacloban
On January 20, 1986, the PNOC and petitioner Negros Navigation Co.,
NEGROS NAVIGATION CO., INC., petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF Inc. entered into a compromise agreement whereby petitioner assumed full
APPEALS, RAMON MIRANDA, SPS. RICARDO and VIRGINIA DE responsibility for the payment and satisfaction of all claims arising out of or in
LA VICTORIA, respondents. connection with the collision and releasing the PNOC and the PNOC/STC from
any liability to it. The agreement was subsequently held by the trial court to be
DECISION binding upon petitioner, PNOC and PNOC/STC. Private respondents did not
join in the agreement.
After trial, the court rendered judgment on February 21, 1991, the
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
Appeals affirming with modification the Regional Trial Courts award of
damages to private respondents for the death of relatives as a result of the WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor
sinking of petitioners vessel. of the plaintiffs, ordering all the defendants to pay jointly and severally to the
plaintiffs damages as follows:
In April of 1980, private respondent Ramon Miranda purchased from the
Negros Navigation Co., Inc. four special cabin tickets (#74411, 74412, 74413
To Ramon Miranda:
and 74414) for his wife, daughter, son and niece who were going to Bacolod
City to attend a family reunion. The tickets were for Voyage No. 457-A of the
M/V Don Juan, leaving Manila at 1:00 p.m. on April 22, 1980. P42,025.00 for actual damages;

The ship sailed from the port of Manila on schedule. P152,654.55 as compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity of
At about 10:30 in the evening of April 22, 1980, the Don Juan collided off his wife;
the Tablas Strait in Mindoro, with the M/T Tacloban City, an oil tanker owned
by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and the PNOC Shipping and P90,000.00 as compensatory damages for wrongful death of three (3)
Transport Corporation (PNOC/STC). As a result, the M/V Don Juan sank. victims;
Several of her passengers perished in the sea tragedy. The bodies of some of
the victims were found and brought to shore, but the four members of private P300,000.00 as moral damages;
respondents families were never found.
Private respondents filed a complaint on July 16, 1980 in the Regional P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, all in the total amount
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 34, against the Negros Navigation, the Philippine of P634,679.55; and
National Oil Company (PNOC), and the PNOC Shipping and Transport
Corporation (PNOC/STC), seeking damages for the death of Ardita de la P40,000.00 as attorneys fees.
Victoria Miranda, 48, Rosario V. Miranda, 19, Ramon V. Miranda, Jr., 16, and
Elfreda de la Victoria, 26. To Spouses Ricardo and Virginia de la Victoria:
In its answer, petitioner admitted that private respondents purchased
ticket numbers 74411, 74412, 74413 and 74414; that the ticket numbers were P12,000.00 for actual damages;
P158,899.00 as compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity; numbers of the tickets and the names of Ardita Miranda and her children and
Elfreda de la Victoria appear.
P30,000.00 as compensatory damages for wrongful death; Petitioner contends that the purchase of the tickets does not necessarily
mean that the alleged victims actually took the trip. Petitioner asserts that it is
P100,000.00 as moral damages; common knowledge that passengers purchase tickets in advance but do not
actually use them. Hence, private respondent should also prove the presence
P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, all in the total amount of the victims on the ship. The witnesses who affirmed that the victims were
of P320,899.00; and on the ship were biased and unreliable.
This contention is without merit. Private respondent Ramon Miranda
P15,000.00 as attorneys fees. testified that he personally took his family and his niece to the vessel on the
day of the voyage and stayed with them on the ship until it was time for it to
On appeal, the Court of Appeals[1] affirmed the decision of the Regional leave. There is no reason he should claim members of his family to have
Trial Court with modification perished in the accident just to maintain an action. People do not normally lie
about so grave a matter as the loss of dear ones. It would be more difficult for
1. Ordering and sentencing defendants-appellants, jointly and
private respondents to keep the existence of their relatives if indeed they are
severally, to pay plaintiff-appellee Ramon Miranda the amount
alive than it is for petitioner to show the contrary. Petitioners only proof is that
of P23,075.00 as actual damages instead of P42,025.00;
the bodies of the supposed victims were not among those recovered from the
2. Ordering and sentencing defendants-appellants, jointly and site of the mishap. But so were the bodies of the other passengers reported
severally, to pay plaintiff-appellee Ramon Miranda the amount missing not recovered, as this Court noted in the Mecenas[3] case.
of P150,000.00, instead of P90,000.00, as compensatory
Private respondent Mirandas testimony was corroborated by Edgardo
damages for the death of his wife and two children;
Ramirez. Ramirez was a seminarian and one of the survivors of the collision.
3. Ordering and sentencing defendants-appellants, jointly and He testified that he saw Mrs. Miranda and Elfreda de la Victoria on the ship
severally, to pay plaintiffs-appellees Dela Victoria spouses the and that he talked with them. He knew Mrs. Miranda who was his teacher in
amount of P50,000.00, instead of P30,000.00, as compensatory the grade school. He also knew Elfreda who was his childhood friend and
damages for the death of their daughter Elfreda Dela Victoria; townmate. Ramirez said he was with Mrs. Miranda and her children and niece
from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. when the collision happened and that he in fact
Hence this petition, raising the following issues: had dinner with them. Ramirez said he and Elfreda stayed on the deck after
(1) whether the members of private respondents families were dinner and it was there where they were jolted by the collision of the two
actually passengers of the Don Juan; vessels. Recounting the moments after the collision, Ramirez testified that
Elfreda ran to fetch Mrs. Miranda. He escorted her to the room and then tried
(2) whether the ruling in Mecenas v. Court of Appeals,[2] finding the to go back to the deck when the lights went out. He tried to return to the cabin
crew members of petitioner to be grossly negligent in the but was not able to do so because it was dark and there was a stampede of
performance of their duties, is binding in this case; passengers from the deck.
(3) whether the total loss of the M/V Don Juan extinguished Petitioner casts doubt on Ramirez testimony, claiming that Ramirez could
petitioners liability; and not have talked with the victims for about three hours and not run out of stories
to tell, unless Ramirez had a storehouse of stories. But what is incredible about
(4) whether the damages awarded by the appellate court are acquaintances thrown together on a long journey staying together for hours on
excessive, unreasonable and unwarranted. end, in idle conversation precisely to while the hours away?
First. The trial court held that the fact that the victims were passengers of Petitioner also points out that it took Ramirez three (3) days before he
the M/V Don Juan was sufficiently proven by private respondent Ramon finally contacted private respondent Ramon Miranda to tell him about the fate
Miranda, who testified that he purchased tickets numbered 74411, 74412, of his family. But it is not improbable that it took Ramirez three days before
74413, and 74414 at P131.30 each from the Makati office of petitioner for calling on private respondent Miranda to tell him about the last hours of Mrs.
Voyage No. 47-A of the M/V Don Juan, which was leaving Manila on April 22,
1980. This was corroborated by the passenger manifest (Exh. E) on which the
Miranda and her children and niece, in view of the confusion in the days Don Juans officer on-watch had sighted the Tacloban City on his radar screen
following the collision as rescue teams and relatives searched for survivors. while the latter was still four (4) nautical miles away. Visual confirmation of
radar contact was established by the Don Juan while the Tacloban City was
Indeed, given the facts of this case, it is improper for petitioner to even still 2.7 miles away. In the total set of circumstances which existed in the
suggest that private respondents relatives did not board the ill-fated vessel and instant case, the Don Juan, had it taken seriously its duty of extraordinary
perish in the accident simply because their bodies were not recovered. diligence, could have easily avoided the collision with the Tacloban
Second. In finding petitioner guilty of negligence and in failing to exercise City. Indeed, the Don Juan might well have avoided the collision even if it had
the extraordinary diligence required of it in the carriage of passengers, both exercised ordinary diligence merely.
the trial court and the appellate court relied on the findings of this Court
in Mecenas v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[4] which case was brought for the It is true that the Tacloban City failed to follow Rule 18 of the International
death of other passengers. In that case it was found that although the Rules of the Road which requires two (2) power-driven vessels meeting end
proximate cause of the mishap was the negligence of the crew of the on or nearly end on each to alter her course to starboard (right) so that each
M/T Tacloban City, the crew of the Don Juan was equally negligent as it found vessel may pass on the port side (left) of the other. The Tacloban City, when
that the latters master, Capt. Rogelio Santisteban, was playing mahjong at the the two (2) vessels were only three-tenths (0.3) of a mile apart, turned (for the
time of collision, and the officer on watch, Senior Third Mate Rogelio De Vera, second time) 15o to port side while the Don Juan veered hard to starboard. . .
admitted that he failed to call the attention of Santisteban to the imminent . [But] route observance of the International Rules of the Road will not relieve
danger facing them. This Court found that Capt. Santisteban and the crew of a vessel from responsibility if the collision could have been avoided by proper
the M/V Don Juan failed to take steps to prevent the collision or at least delay care and skill on her part or even by a departure from the rules.
the sinking of the ship and supervise the abandoning of the ship.
In the petition at bar, the Don Juan having sighted the Tacloban City when it
Petitioner Negros Navigation was found equally negligent in tolerating the
was still a long way off was negligent in failing to take early preventive action
playing of mahjong by the ship captain and other crew members while on
board the ship and failing to keep the M/V Don Juan seaworthy so much so and in allowing the two (2) vessels to come to such close quarters as to render
that the ship sank within 10 to 15 minutes of its impact with the M/T Tacloban the collision inevitable when there was no necessity for passing so near to the
Tacloban City as to create that hazard or inevitability, for the Don Juan could
choose its own distance. It is noteworthy that the Tacloban City, upon turning
In addition, the Court found that the Don Juan was overloaded. The hard to port shortly before the moment of collision, signalled its intention to do
Certificate of Inspection, dated August 27, 1979, issued by the Philippine so by giving two (2) short blasts with its horn. The Don Juan gave no
Coast Guard Commander at Iloilo City stated that the total number of persons answering horn blast to signal its own intention and proceeded to turn hard to
allowed on the ship was 864, of whom 810 are passengers, but there were starboard.
actually 1,004 on board the vessel when it sank, 140 persons more than the
maximum number that could be safely carried by it. We conclude that Capt. Santisteban and Negros Navigation are properly held
liable for gross negligence in connection with the collision of the Don Juan and
Taking these circumstances together, and the fact that the M/V Don Juan,
Tacloban City and the sinking of the Don Juan leading to the death of hundreds
as the faster and better-equipped vessel, could have avoided a collision with
of passengers. . . .[5]
the PNOC tanker, this Court held that even if the Tacloban City had been at
fault for failing to observe an internationally-recognized rule of navigation,
the Don Juan was guilty of contributory negligence. Through Justice Feliciano, Petitioner criticizes the lower courts reliance on the Mecenas case,
this Court held: arguing that, although this case arose out of the same incident as that involved
in Mecenas, the parties are different and trial was conducted
separately. Petitioner contends that the decision in this case should be based
The grossness of the negligence of the Don Juan is underscored when one
on the allegations and defenses pleaded and evidence adduced in it or, in
considers the foregoing circumstances in the context of the following
short, on the record of this case.
facts: Firstly, the Don Juan was more than twice as fast as the Tacloban City.
The Don Juans top speed was 17 knots; while that of the Tacloban City was The contention is without merit. What petitioner contends may be true
6.3. knots. Secondly, the Don Juan carried the full complement of officers and with respect to the merits of the individual claims against petitioner but not as
crew members specified for a passenger vessel of her class. Thirdly, the Don to the cause of the sinking of its ship on April 22, 1980 and its liability for such
Juan was equipped with radar which was functioning that night. Fourthly, the accident, of which there can only be one truth. Otherwise, one would be
subscribing to the sophistry: truth on one side of the Pyrenees, falsehood on Nor is it true that the trial court merely based its decision on
the other! the Mecenas case. The trial court made its own independent findings on the
basis of the testimonies of witnesses, such as Senior Third Mate Rogelio de
Adherence to the Mecenas case is dictated by this Courts policy of Vera, who incidentally gave substantially the same testimony on petitioners
maintaining stability in jurisprudence in accordance with the legal maxim stare behalf before the Board of Marine Inquiry. The trial court agreed with the
decisis et non quieta movere (Follow past precedents and do not disturb what conclusions of the then Minister of National Defense finding both vessels to be
has been settled.) Where, as in this case, the same questions relating to the negligent.
same event have been put forward by parties similarly situated as in a previous
case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a Third. The next issue is whether petitioner is liable to pay damages
bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue.[6] In Woulfe v. Associated notwithstanding the total loss of its ship. The issue is not one of first
Realties Corporation,[7] the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that where impression. The rule is well-entrenched in our jurisprudence that a shipowner
substantially similar cases to the pending case were presented and applicable may be held liable for injuries to passengers notwithstanding the exclusively
principles declared in prior decisions, the court was bound by the principle of real and hypothecary nature of maritime law if fault can be attributed to the
stare decisis. Similarly, in State ex rel. Tollinger v. Gill,[8] it was held that under shipowner.[15]
the doctrine of stare decisis a ruling is final even as to parties who are
strangers to the original proceeding and not bound by the judgment under In Mecenas, this Court found petitioner guilty of negligence in (1) allowing
the res judicata doctrine. The Philadelphia court expressed itself in this wise: or tolerating the ship captain and crew members in playing mahjong during the
Stare decisis simply declares that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion voyage, (2) in failing to maintain the vessel seaworthy and (3) in allowing the
reached in one case should be applied to those which follow, if the facts are ship to carry more passengers than it was allowed to carry. Petitioner is,
substantially the same, even though the parties may be different.[9] Thus, in J. therefore, clearly liable for damages to the full extent.
M. Tuason v. Mariano, supra, this Court relied on its rulings in other cases Fourth. Petitioner contends that, assuming that the Mecenas case
involving different parties in sustaining the validity of a land title on the principle applies, private respondents should be allowed to claim only P43,857.14 each
of stare decisis et non quieta movere. as moral damages because in the Mecenas case, the amount of P307,500.00
Indeed, the evidence presented in this case was the same as those was awarded to the seven children of the Mecenas couple. Under petitioners
presented in the Mecenas case, to wit: formula, Ramon Miranda should receive P43,857.14, while the De la Victoria
spouses should receive P97,714.28.
Document Mecenas case This case Here is where the principle of stare decisis does not apply in view of
differences in the personal circumstances of the victims. For that matter,
Decision of Commandant Exh. 10[10] Exh. 11-B-NN/X differentiation would be justified even if private respondents had joined the
Phil. Coast Guard in BMI Case private respondents in the Mecenas case. The doctrine of stare decisis works
No. 415-80 dated 3/26/81 as a bar only against issues litigated in a previous case. Where the issue
involved was not raised nor presented to the court and not passed upon by the
Decision of the Minister Exh. 11[11] Exh. ZZ court in the previous case, the decision in the previous case is not stare
of National Defense dated 3/12/82 decisis of the question presently presented.[16] The decision in
the Mecenas case relates to damages for which petitioner was liable to the
claimants in that case.
Resolution on the motion Exh. 13[12] Exh. AAA
for reconsideration of the (private respondents) In the case at bar, the award of P300,000.00 for moral damages is
decision of the Minister of reasonable considering the grief petitioner Ramon Miranda suffered as a result
National Defense dated 7/24/84 of the loss of his entire family. As a matter of fact, three months after the
collision, he developed a heart condition undoubtedly caused by the strain of
Certificate of inspection Exh. 1-A[13] Exh. 19-NN the loss of his family. The P100,000.00 given to Mr. and Mrs. de la Victoria is
dated 8/27/79 likewise reasonable and should be affirmed.
As for the amount of civil indemnity awarded to private respondents, the
Certificate of Stability Exh. 6-A[14] Exh. 19-D-NN appellate courts award of P50,000.00 per victim should be sustained. The
dated 12/16/76 amount of P30,000.00 formerly set in De Lima v. Laguna Tayabas
Co.,[17] Heirs of Amparo delos Santos v. Court of Appeals,[18] and Philippine Mirandas earnings would have been subject to taxes, social security
Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court[19] as benchmark was deductions and inflation.
subsequently increased to P50,000.00 in the case of Sulpicio Lines, Inc. v.
Court of Appeals,[20] which involved the sinking of another interisland ship on We agree with this contention. In Villa-Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of
October 24, 1988. Appeals,[23] the Court allowed a deduction of P1,184.00 for living expenses
from the P2,184.00 annual salary of the victim, which is roughly 54.2%
We now turn to the determination of the earning capacity of the thereof. The deceased was 29 years old and a training assistant in the
victims. With respect to Ardita Miranda, the trial court awarded damages Bacnotan Cement Industries. In People v. Quilaton,[24] the deceased was a 26-
computed as follows:[21] year old laborer earning a daily wage. The court allowed a deduction
of P120,000.00 which was 51.3% of his annual gross earnings
In the case of victim Ardita V. Miranda whose age at the time of the accident of P234,000.00. In People v. Teehankee,[25] the court allowed a deduction
was 48 years, her life expectancy was computed to be 21.33 years, and of P19,800.00, roughly 42.4% thereof from the deceaseds annual salary
therefore, she could have lived up to almost 70 years old. Her gross earnings of P46,659.21. The deceased, Maureen Hultman, was 17 years old and had
for 21.33 years based on P10,224.00 per annum, would just received her first paycheck as a secretary. In the case at bar, we hold that
be P218,077.92. Deducting therefrom 30% as her living expenses, her net a deduction of 50% from Mrs. Mirandas gross earnings (P218,077.92) would
earnings would be P152,654.55, to which plaintiff Ramon Miranda is entitled be reasonable, so that her net earning capacity should be P109,038.96. There
to compensatory damages for the loss of earning capacity of his wife. In is no basis for supposing that her living expenses constituted a smaller
considering 30% as the living expenses of Ardita Miranda, the Court takes into percentage of her gross income than the living expenses in the decided
account the fact that plaintiff and his wife were supporting their daughter and cases. To hold that she would have used only a small part of her income for
son who were both college students taking Medicine and Law respectively. herself, a larger part going to the support of her children would be conjectural
and unreasonable.
In accordance with the ruling in Villa-Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of As for Elfreda de la Victoria, the trial court found that, at the time of her
Appeals,[22] we think the life expectancy of Ardita Miranda was correctly death, she was 26 years old, a teacher in a private school in Malolos, Bulacan,
determined to be 21.33 years, or up to age 69. Petitioner contends, however, earning P6,192.00 per annum. Although a probationary employee, she had
that Mrs. Miranda would have retired from her job as a public school teacher already been working in the school for two years at the time of her death and
at 65, hence her loss of earning capacity should be reckoned up to 17.33 years she had a general efficiency rating of 92.85% and it can be presumed that, if
only. not for her untimely death, she would have become a regular teacher. Hence,
The accepted formula for determining life expectancy is 2/3 multiplied by her loss of earning capacity is P111,456.00, computed as follows:
(80 minus the age of the deceased). It may be that in the Philippines the age
of retirement generally is 65 but, in calculating the life expectancy of individuals net earning capacity (x) = life expectancy x [ gross annual
for the purpose of determining loss of earning capacity under Art. 2206(1) of income less reasonable & necessary living expenses (50%) ]
the Civil Code, it is assumed that the deceased would have earned income
even after retirement from a particular job. In this case, the trial court took into x = [ 2 (80-26) ] x [P6,192.00 - P3,096.00]
account the fact that Mrs. Miranda had a masters degree and a good prospect
of becoming principal of the school in which she was teaching. There was 3
reason to believe that her income would have increased through the years and
she could still earn more after her retirement, e.g., by becoming a consultant,
= 36 x 3,096.00
had she not died. The gross earnings which Mrs. Miranda could reasonably be
expected to earn were it not for her untimely death was, therefore, correctly
computed by the trial court to be P218,077.92 (given a gross annual income = P111,456.00
of P10,224.00 and life expectancy of 21.33 years).
On the other hand, the award of actual damages in the amount
Petitioner contends that from the amount of gross earnings, 60% should of P23,075.00 was determined by the Court of Appeals on the basis of receipts
be deducted as necessary living expenses, not merely 30% as the trial court submitted by private respondents. This amount is reasonable considering the
allowed.Petitioner contends that 30% is unrealistic, considering that Mrs. expenses incurred by private respondent Miranda in organizing three search
teams to look for his family, spending for transportation in going to places such
as Batangas City and Iloilo, where survivors and the bodies of other victims instruments given to it by the law for securing the ends of law and public
were found, making long distance calls, erecting a monument in honor of the policy. One of those instruments is the institution of exemplary damages; one
four victims, spending for obituaries in the Bulletin Today and for food, masses of those ends, of special importance in an archipelagic state like the
and novenas. Philippines, is the safe and reliable carriage of people and goods by sea.[28]
Petitioners contention that the expenses for the erection of a monument
and other expenses for memorial services for the victims should be considered WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with
included in the indemnity for death awarded to private respondents is without modification and petitioner is ORDERED to pay private respondents damages
merit. Indemnity for death is given to compensate for violation of the rights of as follows:
the deceased, i.e., his right to life and physical integrity.[26] On the other hand,
damages incidental to or arising out of such death are for pecuniary losses of To private respondent Ramon Miranda:
the beneficiaries of the deceased.
P23,075.00 for actual damages;
As for the award of attorneys fees, we agree with the Court of Appeals
that the amount of P40,000.00 for private respondent Ramon Miranda
and P15,000.00 for the de la Victoria spouses is justified. The appellate court P109,038.96 as compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity
correctly held: of his wife;

The Mecenas case cannot be made the basis for determining the award for P150,000.00 as compensatory damages for wrongful death of three
attorneys fees. The award would naturally vary or differ in each case. While it (3) victims;
is admitted that plaintiff-appellee Ramon Miranda who is himself a lawyer,
represented also plaintiffs-appellees Dela Victoria spouses, we note that P300,000.00 as moral damages;
separate testimonial evidence were adduced by plaintiff-appellee Ramon
Miranda (TSN, February 26, 1982, p. 6) and plaintiffs-appellees spouses Dela P300,000.00 as exemplary damages, all in the total amount
Victoria (TSN, August 13, 1981, p. 43). Considering the amount of work and of P882,113.96; and
effort put into the case as indicated by the voluminous transcripts of
stenographic notes, we find no reason to disturb the award of P40,000.00 for P40,000.00 as attorneys fees.
plaintiff-appellee Ramon Miranda and P15,000.00 for plaintiffs-appellees Dela
Victoria spouses.[27]
To private respondents Spouses Ricardo and Virginia de la Victoria:
The award of exemplary damages should be increased to P300,000.00
P12,000.00 for actual damages;
for Ramon Miranda and P100,000.00 for the de la Victoria spouses in
accordance with our ruling in the Mecenas case:
P111,456.00 as compensatory damages for loss of earning
Exemplary damages are designed by our civil law to permit the courts to
reshape behaviour that is socially deleterious in its consequence by creating
negative incentives or deterrents against such behaviour. In requiring P50,000.00 as compensatory damages for wrongful death;
compliance with the standard of extraordinary diligence, a standard which is in
fact that of the highest possible degree of diligence, from common carriers and P100,000.00 as moral damages;
in creating a presumption of negligence against them, the law seeks to compel
them to control their employees, to tame their reckless instincts and to force P100,000.00 as exemplary damages, all in the total amount
them to take adequate care of human beings and their property. The Court will of P373,456.00; and
take judicial notice of the dreadful regularity with which grievous maritime
disasters occur in our waters with massive loss of life. The bulk of our P15,000.00 as attorneys fees.
population is too poor to afford domestic air transportation. So it is that
notwithstanding the frequent sinking of passenger vessels in our waters,
crowds of people continue to travel by sea. This Court is prepared to use the Petitioners are further ordered to pay costs of suit.
In the event the Philippine National Oil Company and/or the PNOC
Shipping and Transport Corporation pay or are required to pay all or a portion
of the amounts adjudged, petitioner Negros Navigation Co., Inc. shall
reimburse either of them such amount or amounts as either may have paid,
and in the event of failure of Negros Navigation Co., Inc., to make the
necessary reimbursement, PNOC and/or PNOC/STC shall be entitled to a writ
of execution without need of filing another action.
9. Cang v. Cullen (GR No. 163078) to the injuries Saycon sustained, he was unable to work. For humanitarian
reasons, respondent had given Saycon an amount equivalent to his wages
from October 31, 1996 to May 30, 1997. She also gave Saycon ₱2,000.00 per
month from June 1997 until he was able to return to work.7
G.R. No. 163078 November 25, 2009
On July 3, 1997, respondent filed a Complaint for damages against petitioners
praying that judgment be rendered ordering the latter to pay, jointly and
vs. severally, ₱205,091.00 in actual damages; ₱2,000.00 per month from June
HERMINIA CULLEN, Respondent. 1997 up to the time Saycon would be able to return to work, with 6% per annum
interest from the date of extrajudicial demand; ₱50,000.00 as exemplary
damages; 20% of the total amount by way of attorney’s fees; ₱10,000.00 as
DECISION acceptance fee; ₱500.00 per court appearance, as appearance fee;
₱20,000.00 as litigation expenses; and the cost of the suit.8
Petitioner Cang filed a Motion to Dismiss contending that the complaint
Before this Court is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court violated Presidential Decree No. 1508, or the Katarungang Pambarangay Law.
assailing the Decision1 dated December 2, 2002 and the Resolution2 dated The motion was dismissed on September 24, 1997.9
February 23, 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 69841. In
the assailed Decision, the CA reversed and set aside the Decision3 of the Subsequently, petitioners filed their Answer with Counterclaims. Cang averred
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20504, that Nardo was not driving the taxi as the former’s employee, but that Nardo
an action for damages. was leasing the taxi from him.10 Petitioners also claimed that Nardo did not
sideswipe the motorcycle driven by Saycon, nor did the latter speed away after
The claim for damages was precipitated by a vehicular accident involving a the incident. They maintained that, at the time of the impact, Nardo’s taxi was
taxicab bearing Plate No. GVG-672, owned by petitioner Stephen Cang and on its proper lane and that it was the motorcycle that veered into Nardo’s lane
driven by petitioner George Nardo, and a motorcycle owned by respondent and bumped the taxi.11 Further, they alleged that after the impact, Nardo drove
Herminia Cullen and driven by Guillermo Saycon. the taxi backward to where Saycon and the motorcycle were slumped on the
road. He then alighted from the taxi. Meanwhile, two traffic enforcers had
On October 29, 1996, at about 3:10 p.m., Saycon was driving the Honda crossed the street. After examining Saycon’s injuries, one of the enforcers
motorcycle, with Plate No. LLC-A-4589, along P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City, ordered Nardo to bring the former to a hospital. Nardo hesitated for a moment
occupying the middle portion of the outer lane. The taxi, on the other hand, because he wanted the enforcers to make a sketch of the accident first, to
was traveling on the inner lane and slightly behind, but to the left of, the show the exact positions of the vehicles at the time of the accident. However,
motorcycle. Respondent alleged that between Sikatuna and D. Jakosalem he was prevailed upon by the traffic enforcers to bring Saycon to the hospital.
Streets, the taxi veered to the right and sideswiped the motorcycle, then Hence, it was not true that Nardo attempted to speed away from the scene of
attempted to speed away. Peace officers near the scene flagged down the the accident. Petitioner Cang also claimed that Saycon was driving the
taxi. As a result of the collision, Saycon was seriously injured.4 motorcycle without any protective headgear and that the latter was not
authorized to drive the motorcycle since he only had a student’s
Petitioners, meanwhile, claimed that it was the motorcycle that bumped into permit.12 Petitioner Cang prayed that the complaint be dismissed for lack of
the taxi. Nardo narrated that he was driving the taxi on the inner lane (near the merit, for lack of cause of action and for lack of legal capacity. He also prayed
center island) along P. del Rosario St., moving towards the intersection of D. for the award of ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, ₱20,000.00 as exemplary
Jakosalem St. When the "caution" signal of the traffic light flashed, he damages, ₱10,000.00 as acceptance fee, ₱30,000.00 as attorney’s fees,
immediately slowed down. It was at that point that the motorcycle bumped into ₱20,000.00 as litigation expenses, and ₱1,000.00 per court appearance.13
the taxi’s rear.5
After trial, the RTC ruled in petitioners’ favor. In its Decision14 dated January
Respondent, as employer, out of compassion, paid all of Saycon’s hospital 31, 2000, the trial court disposed:
and medical expenses amounting to ₱185,091.00.6 She also alleged that due
WHEREFORE, based upon the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in (1) the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are
favor of the defendants. Plaintiffs (sic) complaint is hereby dismissed. contradictory;

Defendants’ counterclaims are likewise denied. (2) the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or
No pronouncement as to costs.
(3) the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact
SO ORDERED. 15 is mainly mistaken, absurd or impossible;

Respondent appealed the RTC Decision to the CA. On December 2, 2002, the (4) there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts;
CA promulgated the assailed Decision,16 reversing the RTC Decision, to wit:
(5) the appellate court, in making its findings, goes beyond the issues
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision dated January of the case and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both
31, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 22 is hereby REVERSED appellant and appellee;
and SET ASIDE. Defendants-appellees are hereby ordered to pay plaintiff-
appellant, jointly and severally[,] the following: (6) the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on a
misapprehension of facts;
1.) The sum of ₱166,197.08 as actual damages which were incurred
for the hospitalization and other medical expenses of plaintiff- (7) the Court of Appeals fails to notice certain relevant facts which, if
appellant’s driver Guillermo Saycon; and properly considered, will justify a different conclusion; and

`2.) The sum of ₱20,000.00 as exemplary damages. (8) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of
the trial court or are mere conclusions without citation of specific
SO ORDERED.17 evidence, or where the facts set forth by the petitioner are not disputed
by respondent, or where the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals
are premised on the absence of evidence but are contradicted by the
Petitioners are now before this Court on Petition for Review seeking the
reversal of the CA Decision and its Resolution denying their Motion for evidence on record.
Reconsideration. They argue that the CA erred in reversing the judgment
rendered by the trial court; in giving credence to the eyewitness’ testimony of Thus, when there are conflicting findings of fact by the CA on one hand and
Ike Aldemita, that petitioner Nardo had overtaken the motorcycle driven by by the trial court on the other, as in this case,21 the Court may give due course
Saycon and, therefore, was the negligent party; and in awarding damages to to petitions raising factual issues by way of exception and only in the presence
respondent.18 of extremely meritorious circumstances.22

The petition is meritorious. Contrary to the CA’s ruling, we find that the RTC correctly disregarded
Aldemita’s testimony. Between the RTC and the CA, it is the former’s
We note that the present Petition raises questions of fact. Whether a person assessment of the witnesses’ credibility that should control.23
is negligent or not is a question of fact which we cannot ordinarily pass upon
in a petition for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing The trial court gave little credence to Aldemita’s testimony, upon its finding
errors of law.19 that:

However, although findings of fact of the CA are generally conclusive on this On the other hand, multicab driver Aldemita contended that he saw everything.
Court, this rule admits of the following exceptions:20 He said that the motorcycle and the taxi overtook him. He told the court during
his testimony that the motorcycle was ahead of the taxi. He further said that
the motorcycle was nearer him (TSN, February 13, 1998, Savellon, p. 4). The
court finds him inconsistent. If both were ahead of him and the motorcycle was The court also cannot fail to notice the uncontroverted allegation of Nardo
ahead of the taxi, then, the motorcycle could not be nearer him. Because if the during his testimony that Aldemita was not the person (the multicab driver) he
motorcycle was indeed nearer him, then, it could not have been ahead of the saw during the time of the accident. He claimed that the person who testified
taxi. But rather, the taxi was ahead of the motorcycle. But in a later testimony, in court last February 12, 1998, was not the driver of the multicab who was at
he said that they were beside each other (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, Savellon, p. the scene of the accident that fateful night (sic) of October 29, 1996 (TSN,
17). Aug. 24, 1998, Pieras, p. 12). Allegations and claims like this when not
countered and disproved would certainly cast doubt on the credibility of the
He also said that both tried to pass the lane which would fit only two vehicles. subject person and consequently, on his testimonies, too.
He told the court that both vehicles were running fast – at a speed of more
than 30 kph – when the motorcycle was hit by the taxi. It would seem to the Based on the points, the court cannot help but find Aldemita’s testimony as
court that both vehicles were racing each other. Aldemita further said that in uncertain and filled with so many inconsistencies. They contradicted with each
trying to pass the motorcycle, the taxi hit the left handle bar of the motorcycle. other at many instances. The court believes in either of the two possibilities --
The handle bar was twisted and the motorcycle fell down to the left side. But if Aldemita did not really actually and exactly see the whole incident or he was
the taxi was indeed to the left of the motorcycle and if it really swerved to the lying through his teeth. Thus, the court cannot give so much weight to his
right and hit the motorcycle – the law of force would tell us that the motorcycle testimony.24
would fall to the right after impact. It is the most logical direction for the
motorcycle to fall. If the taxi was indeed traveling at a fast speed when it hit The CA failed to refute the trial court’s detailed analysis of the events leading
the motorcycle, the impact would not have only caused a mere twisted handle to the accident and what transpired thereafter. It merely said that the lower
and the motorcycle would not have only fallen on its side as claimed by court should have considered Aldemita’s eyewitness testimony.25 The CA
Aldemita. High speed impact would have caused the motorcycle and its driver based its findings of the accident only on Aldemita’s account. It failed to
greater damage and would have dislocated them much farther away than consider all the other testimonial and documentary evidence analyzed by the
where it fell in this case. trial court, which substantially controverted Aldemita’s testimony.

He claimed that he was more or less ten (10) meters from the site of the In contrast, the trial court found Nardo more credible on the witness stand.
accident when it happened (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, p. 12). The court can, Thus:
therefore, say that he was also quite far from the scene of the accident and
could not be that certain as to what really happened. During his testimonies, Nardo appeared to be consistent, sincere and certain
in his statements. He appeared to be acknowledgeable (sic) in his work as a
Aldemita also said that he signaled the taxi driver to stop (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, driver. He conveyed a definite degree of credibility when he testified. The Court
Savellon, p. 6). However, later when asked, he said he signaled the has decided to give more appreciation to his testimonies.26lavvph!1
"policeman" to stop the taxi driver or not (sic). He also claimed that he was
near (sic) the motorcyclist than the "policemen." He further claimed that he We are inclined to give greater weight to the trial court’s assessment of the
was there at the scene of the accident to help but later said he never saw the
two witnesses.
driver of the taxi (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, Savellon, p. 17). The court finds this
highly unusual for somebody who claimed to be at the scene of the accident
not to see the driver who came out of his vehicle to reason out with the The findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are accorded great
responding enforcers. He said he was the one who removed the motorcycle weight and respect – even considered as conclusive and binding on this
which pinned its driver and then helped carried (sic) the driver to the taxi as Court27 – since the trial judge had the unique opportunity to observe the
told by the "policeman" (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, Savellon p. 7). But later, he said witness firsthand and note his demeanor, conduct and attitude under grueling
that somebody took his place in carrying the victim because there were already examination.28 Only the trial judge can observe the furtive glance, blush of
many people (TSN, Feb. 12, 1998, Savellon, p. 17). x x x. conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh of a
witness, or his scant or full realization of an oath – all of which are useful aids
for an accurate determination of a witness’ honesty and sincerity.29 He can
xxxx thus be expected to determine with reasonable discretion which testimony is
acceptable and which witness is worthy of belief.30
Absent any showing that the trial court’s calibration of the credibility of the A student-driver who fails in the examination on a professional or non-
witnesses was flawed, we are bound by its assessment.31 This Court will professional license shall continue as a student-driver and shall not be allowed
sustain such findings unless it can be shown that the trial court to take another examination at least one month thereafter. No student-driver
ignored,32overlooked, misunderstood,33 misappreciated,34 or shall operate a motor vehicle, unless possessed of a valid student-driver’s
misapplied35 substantial facts and circumstances, which, if considered, would permit and accompanied by a duly licensed driver.
materially affect the result of the case.36
The licensed driver duly accredited by the Bureau, acting as instructor to the
We find no such circumstances in this case. The trial court’s meticulous and student driver, shall be equally responsible and liable as the latter for any
dispassionate analysis of the facts of the case is noteworthy. It succeeded in violation of the provisions of this Act and for any injury or damage done by the
presenting a clear and logical picture of the events even as it admitted that the motor vehicle on account or as a result of its operation by a student-driver
resolution of the case was made more difficult by the "inefficiencies, under his direction.45
indifference, ineptitude, and dishonesty of the local law enforcers, and the
litigants,"37 which left the court without an official sketch of the accident,38 with Saycon was in clear violation of this provision at the time of the accident.
no photographs or any other proof of the damage to the respondent’s Corollarily, Article 2185 of the Civil Code states:
motorcycle,39 with an altered police report,40 and with the baffling matter of the
victim’s driver’s license being issued two days after the accident took place –
Art. 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person
when the victim was supposed to be in the hospital.41 driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was
violating any traffic regulation.
These handicaps notwithstanding, the trial court methodically related in detail
all the testimonial and documentary evidence presented, and made the most
The Civil Code characterizes negligence as the omission of that diligence
rational analysis of what truly happened on the day of the incident.
required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the
circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place.46 Negligence, as it
The trial court categorically found that it was not the taxi that bumped the is commonly understood, is conduct that creates an undue risk of harm to
motorcycle. It concluded that based on the evidence presented before the others. It is the failure to observe that degree of care, precaution and vigilance
court, it was the motorcycle that bumped the taxi.42 It also found that at the that the circumstances justly demand.47 It is the omission to do something
time of the accident, Saycon, the driver of the motorcycle, did not have a which a reasonable man, guided by considerations that ordinarily regulate the
license but only had a student driver’s permit. Further, Saycon was not wearing conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something that a prudent and
the proper protective headgear and was speeding.43 Hence, the trial court reasonable man would not do.48
To determine whether there is negligence in a given situation, this Court laid
It was really pitiful that Saycon suffered for what he did. But then, he has only down this test: Did defendant, in doing the alleged negligent act, use that
himself to blame for his sad plight. He had been careless in driving the reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have
motorcycle without a helmet. For speeding. (sic) For driving alone with only a used in the same situation? If not, the person is guilty of negligence.49
student permit. (sic) For causing the accident. (sic) If the driver was found
violating traffic rules, a legal presumption that he was negligent arises.44 Based on the foregoing test, we can conclude that Saycon was negligent. In
the first place, he should not have been driving alone. The law clearly requires
Section 30 of Republic Act No. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic that the holder of a student-driver’s permit should be accompanied by a duly
Code, provides: licensed driver when operating a motor vehicle. Further, there is the matter of
not wearing a helmet and the fact that he was speeding. All these prove that
Sec. 30. Student-driver’s permit – Upon proper application and the payment of he was negligent.
the fee prescribed in accordance with law, the Director or his deputies may
issue student-driver’s permits, valid for one year to persons not under sixteen Under Article 2179 of the Civil Code,
years of age, who desire to learn to operate motor vehicles.
[w]hen the plaintiff’s own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause
of his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if his negligence was only
contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable
defendant’s lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as
shall mitigate the damages to be awarded. they remain in their custody.

The trial court gave more credence to Nardo’s version of the accident that he The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein
was on his proper lane, that he was not speeding, and that it was the mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a
motorcycle that bumped into his taxi. The trial court established that the family to prevent damage.51
accident was caused wholly by Saycon’s negligence. It held that "the injuries
and damages suffered by plaintiff (respondent) and Saycon were not due to When an employee causes damage due to his own negligence while
the acts of defendants (petitioners) but due to their own negligence and performing his own duties, there arises the juris tantum presumption that his
recklessness."50 employer is negligent, rebuttable only by proof of observance of the diligence
of a good father of a family.52 Thus, in the selection of prospective employees,
Considering that Saycon was the negligent party, he would not have been employers are required to examine them as to their qualifications, experience
entitled to recover damages from petitioners had he instituted his own action. and service records. With respect to the supervision of employees, employers
Consequently, respondent, as his employer, would likewise not be entitled to must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation
claim for damages. and impose disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. These facts must be
shown by concrete proof, including documentary evidence.53
Further militating against respondent’s claim is the fact that she herself was
negligent in the selection and supervision of her employee. Article 2180 of the The fact that Saycon was driving alone with only a student’s permit is, to our
Civil Code states: minds, proof enough that Cullen was negligent – either she did not know that
he only had a student’s permit or she allowed him to drive alone knowing this
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for deficiency. Whichever way we look at it, we arrive at the same conclusion: that
one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is she failed to exercise the due diligence required of her as an employer in
responsible. supervising her employee. Thus, the trial court properly denied her claim for
damages. One who seeks equity and justice must come to this Court with
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible clean hands.54
for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.
In sum, we hold that the trial court correctly found that it was Saycon who
caused the accident and, as such, he cannot recover indemnity for his injury.
Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated
On the other hand, respondent, as Saycon’s employer, was also negligent and
persons who are under their authority and live in their company.
failed to exercise the degree of diligence required in supervising her employee.
Consequently, she cannot recover from petitioners what she had paid for the
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise treatment of her employee’s injuries.
responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the
branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED.
The Decision dated December 2, 2002 and the Resolution dated February 23,
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 69841 are REVERSED and
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 22, in
the former are not engaged in any business or industry. Civil Case No. CEB-20504 is hereby REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to
The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special agent;
but not when the damage has been caused by the official to whom the task SO ORDERED.
done properly pertains, in which case what is provided in Article 2176 shall be
10. Layugan v. IAC (167 SCRA 376) at Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Research and Medical Center and the
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital; that he spent TEN THOUSAND
PESOS (Pl0,000.00) and will incur more expenses as he
recuperates from said injuries; that because of said injuries he
G.R. No. 73998 November 14, 1988 would be deprived of a lifetime income in the sum of
SEVENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P70,000.00); and that he
PEDRO T. LAYUGAN, petitioner, agreed to pay his lawyer the sum of TEN THOUSAND PESOS
TRAVELLERS MULTI-INDEMNITY CORPORATION, respondents. As prayed for by the plaintiffs counsel, the Court declared the
defendant in default on October 12, 1979, and plaintiff's
Edralin S. Mateo for petitioner. evidence was received ex-parte on January 11, 1978 and
February 19, 1980. The decision on behalf of the plaintiff was
set aside to give a chance to the defendant to file his answer
Orlando L. Espinas for respondent Travellers Multi-Indemnity Corp. and later on, a third-party complaint.

Roberto T. Vallarta for respondent Godofredo Isidro. Defendant admitted his ownership of the vehicle involved in
the accident driven by Daniel Serrano. Defendant countered
that the plaintiff was merely a bystander, not a truck helper
being a brother-in-law law of the driver of said truck; that the
SARMIENTO, J.: truck allegedly being repaired was parked, occupying almost
half of the right lane towards Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, right
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari are 1) the decision 1 of the then after the curve; that the proximate cause of the incident was
Intermediate Appellate Court 2 in AC-G.R. CV No. 01055, entitled "Pedro T. the failure of the driver of the parked truck in installing the
Layugan, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus Godofredo Isidro, Defendant-Appellant early warning device, hence the driver of the parked car
and Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellee, versus Travellers Multi-Indemnity should be liable for damages sustained by the truck of the
Corporation, Third Party Defendant- Appellant, "which reversed and set aside herein defendant in the amount of more than P20,000.00; that
the decision 3 of the Regional Trial Court, Third Judicial Region, Branch XXVI, plaintiff being a mere bystander and hitchhiker must suffer all
Cabanatuan City, and also dismissed the complaint, third party complaint, and the damages he incurred. By way of counterclaim defendant
the counter claims of the parties and 2) the resolution 4 denying the plaintiff- alleged that due to plaintiffs baseless complaint he was
appellee's (herein petitioner) motion for reconsideration, for lack of merit. constrained to engage the services of counsel for P5,000.00
and P200.00 per court appearance; that he suffered sleepless
nights, humiliation, wounded feelings which may be estimated
The findings of fact by the trial court which were adopted by the appellate court
at P30.000.00.
are as follows: 5
On May 29, 1981, a third-party complaint was filed by the
xxx xxx xxx
defendant against his insurer, the Travellers Multi Indemnity
Corporation; that the third-party plaintiff, without admitting his
Pedro T. Layugan filed an action for damages against liability to the plaintiff, claimed that the third-party defendant is
Godofredo Isidro, alleging that on May 15, 1979 while at liable to the former for contribution, indemnity and subrogation
Baretbet, Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, the Plaintiff and a by virtue of their contract under Insurance Policy No. 11723
companion were repairing the tire of their cargo truck with which covers the insurer's liability for damages arising from
Plate No. SU-730 which was parked along the right side of the death, bodily injuries and damage to property.
National Highway; that defendant's truck bearing Plate No.
PW-583, driven recklessly by Daniel Serrano bumped the
Third-party defendant answered that, even assuming that the
plaintiff, that as a result, plaintiff was injured and hospitalized
subject matter of the complaint is covered by a valid and
existing insurance policy, its liability shall in no case exceed the plaintiff to the ground. As a result thereof, plaintiff
the limit defined under the terms and conditions stated sustained injuries on his left forearm and left foot. The left leg
therein; that the complaint is premature as no claim has been of the plaintiff from below the knee was later on amputated
submitted to the third party defendant as prescribed under the (Exh. "C") when gangrene had set in, thereby rendering him
Insurance Code; that the accident in question was incapacitated for work depriving him of his income. (pp. 118
approximately caused by the carelessness and gross to 120, Record on Appeal.)
negligence of the plaintiff-, that by reason of the third-party
complaint, third-party defendant was constrained to engage xxx xxx xxx
the services of counsel for a fee of P3,000.00.
Upon such findings, amply supported by the evidence on record, the trial court
Pedro Layugan declared that he is a married man with one (1) rendered its decision, the dispositive part of which reads as follows: 6
child. He was employed as security guard in Mandaluyong,
Metro Manila, with a salary of SIX HUNDRED PESOS
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the defendant is hereby
(600.00) a month. When he is off-duty, he worked as a truck ordered:
helper and while working as such, he sustained injuries as a
result of the bumping of the cargo truck they were repairing at
Baretbet, Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya by the driver of the a) To pay the plaintiff SEVENTY THOUSAND (P70,000.00)
defendant. He used to earn TWO HUNDRED PESOS PESOS actual and compensatory damages;
(P200.00) to THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P300.00) monthly,
at the rate of ONE HUNDRED PESOS (Pl00.00) per trip. Due b) TWO THOUSAND (P2,000.00) PESOS for attorney's fees;
to said injuries, his left leg was amputated so he had to use
crutches to walk. Prior to the incident, he supported his family c) FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS for moral damages;
sufficiently, but after getting injured, his family is now being and
supported by his parents and brother.
d) To pay the costs of this suit. On the third-party complaint,
GODOFREDO ISIDRO, defendant/third-party plaintiff, the third-party defendant is ordered to indemnify the
testified that his truck involved in this vehicular accident is defendant/third party plaintiff-.
insured with the Travellers Multi Indemnity Corporation
covering own damage and third-party liability, under vehicle a) The sum of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS for
policy No. 11723 (Exh. "1") dated May 30, 1978; that after he actual and compensatory damages; and
filed the insurance claim the insurance company paid him the
sum of P18,000.00 for the damages sustained by this truck
b) The costs of this suit.
but not the third party liability.
The Intermediate Appellate Court as earlier stated reversed the decision of the
DANIEL SERRANO, defendant driver, declared that he gave
trial court and dismissed the complaint, the third-party complaint, and the
a statement before the municipal police of Bagabag, Nueva
counter- claims of both appellants. 7
Vizcaya on May 16, 1979; that he knew the responsibilities of
a driver; that before leaving, he checked the truck. The truck
owner used to instruct him to be careful in driving. He bumped Hence, this petition.
the truck being repaired by Pedro Layugan, plaintiff, while the
same was at a stop position. From the evidence presented, it The petitioner alleges the following errors. 8
has been established clearly that the injuries sustained by the
plaintiff was caused by defendant's driver, Daniel Serrano. 1. WHETHER UPON THE GIVEN FACTS, THE
The police report confirmed the allegation of the plaintiff and INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ACTED
admitted by Daniel Serrano on cross-examination. The CORRECTLY IN REVERSING AND SETTING ASIDE AND
collision dislodged the jack from the parked truck and pinned DISMISSING THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE'S COMPLAINT.
2. WHETHER THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT finding of the trial court that a warning device was installed 16 escapes us
ACTED CORRECTLY IN APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF because it is evident from the record that really such a device, in the form of a
"RES IPSA LOQUITUR" WITH PROPER JURIS- lighted kerosene lamp, was installed by the driver of the parked truck three to
PRUDENTIAL (sic) BASIS. four meters from the rear of his parked truck.17 We see this negative finding of
the respondent appellate court as a misreading of the facts and the evidence
The crux of the controversy lies in the correctness or error of the decision of on record and directly contravening the positive finding of the trial court that an
the respondent court finding the petitioner negligent under the doctrine of Res early warning device was in proper place when the accident happened and
ipsa loquitur (The thing speaks for itself).<äre||anº•1àw> Corollary thereto, is that the driver of the private respondent was the one negligent. On the other
the question as to who is negligent, if the doctrine is inapplicable. hand, the respondent court, in refusing to give its "imprimatur to the trial court's
finding and conclusion that Daniel Serrano (private respondent Isidro's driver)
was negligent in driving the truck that bumped the parked truck", did not cite
The respondent corporation stresses that the issues raised in the petition
being factual, the same is not reviewable by this Court in a petition for review specific evidence to support its conclusion. In cavalier fashion, it simply and
by certiorari. 9 nebulously adverted to unspecified "scanty evidence on record." 18

Indeed, it is an elementary rule in the review of decisions of the Court of On the technical aspect of the case, the respondent corporation would want
us to dismiss this petition on the ground that it was filed out of time. It must be
Appeals that its findings of fact are entitled to great respect and will not
ordinarily be disturbed by this Court. 10 For if we have to review every question noted that there was a motion for extension, 19 albeit filed erroneously with the
of fact elevated to us, we would hardly have any more time left for the weightier respondent court, dated March 19, 1986, requesting for 30 days from March
20, 1986, to file the necessary petition or pleading before the Supreme Court".
issues compelling and deserving our preferential attention.11 Be that as it may,
Also, on April 1, 1986, an appearance of a new lawyer for the petitioner before
this rule is not inflexible. Surely there are established exceptions 12 —when the
the Supreme Court" with motion 20 was filed, again erroneously, with the Court
Court should review and rectify the findings of fact of the lower court, such as:
of Appeals, requesting for 20 days extension "to file the Petition for Review on
Certiorari." Likewise a similar motion 21 was filed with this Court also on April
1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise, 1, 1986. On the other hand, the instant petition for review was filed on April 17,
or conjecture; 2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; 3) there is grave 1986 22 but it was only after three months, on August 1, 1986, in its
abuse of discretion; 4) the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; 5) comment 23 that the respondent corporation raised the issue of tardiness. The
the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case if the findings are respondent corporation should not have waited in ambush before the comment
contrary to the admission of both the appellant and the appellee; 6) the findings was required and before due course was given. In any event, to exact its "a
of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; 7) the said pound of flesh", so to speak, at this very late stage, would cause a grave
findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which miscarriage of justice. Parenthetically, it must be noted that private respondent
they are based; 8) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's Isidro did not raise this issue of late filing.
main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and 9) when the
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of
evidence and are contradicted on record. We now come to the merits of this petition.

Exceptions 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9 obtain in the instant case to warrant a deviation The question before us is who was negligent? Negligence is the omission to
do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which
from the general rule.
ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of
something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do24 or as Judge
From its finding that the parked truck was loaded with ten (10) big round Cooley defines it, "(T)he failure to observe for the protection of the interests of
logs 13 the Court of Appeals inferred that because of its weight the truck could another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the
not have been driven to the shoulder of the road and concluded that the same circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.25
was parked on a portion of the road 14 at the time of the accident.
Consequently, the respondent court inferred that the mishap was due to the
negligence of the driver of the parked truck.15 The inference or conclusion is In Picart vs. Smith, 26 decided more than seventy years ago but still a sound
rule, we held:
manifestly erroneous. In a large measure, it is grounded on speculation,
surmise, or conjecture. How the respondent court could have reversed the
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case That on or about 10:40 p.m., 15 May 1979
may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act while driving Isuzu truck at Baretbet,
use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya and at KM 285, I
would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. met another vehicle who (sic) did not dim his
The law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the (sic) lights which cause (sic) me to be blinded
imaginary conduct of the discreet paterfamilias of the Roman law. The with intense glare of the light that's why I did
existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by reference to the not notice a parked truck who (sic) was
personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The Law considers repairing a front flat tire. When I was a few
what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary meters away, I saw the truck which was
intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that. loaded with round logs. I step (sic) on my foot
brakes but it did not function with my many
Respondent Isidro posits that any immobile object along the highway, like a attempts. I have (sic) found out later that the
parked truck, poses serious danger to a moving vehicle which has the right to fluid pipe on the rear right was cut that's why
be on the highway. He argues that since the parked cargo truck in this case the breaks did not function. (Emphasis
was a threat to life and limb and property, it was incumbent upon the driver as supplied).
well as the petitioner, who claims to be a helper of the truck driver, to exercise
extreme care so that the motorist negotiating the road would be properly Whether the cargo truck was parked along the road or on half the shoulder of
forewarned of the peril of a parked vehicle. Isidro submits that the burden of the right side of the road would be of no moment taking into account the
proving that care and diligence were observed is shifted to the petitioner, for, warning device consisting of the lighted kerosene lamp placed three or four
as previously claimed, his (Isidro's) Isuzu truck had a right to be on the road, meters from the back of the truck. 30 But despite this warning which we rule as
while the immobile cargo truck had no business, so to speak, to be there. sufficient, the Isuzu truck driven by Daniel Serrano, an employee of the private
Likewise, Isidro proffers that the petitioner must show to the satisfaction of a respondent, still bumped the rear of the parked cargo truck. As a direct
reasonable mind that the driver and he (petitioner) himself, provided an early consequence of such accident the petitioner sustained injuries on his left
warning device, like that required by law, or, by some other adequate means forearm and left foot. His left leg was later amputated from below the knee
that would properly forewarn vehicles of the impending danger that the parked when gangrene had set in. 31
vehicle posed considering the time, place, and other peculiar circumstances
of the occasion. Absent such proof of care, as in the case at bar, Isidro It is clear from the foregoing disquisition that the absence or want of care of
concludes, would, under the doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur, evoke the Daniel Serrano has been established by clear and convincing evidence. It
presumption of negligence on the part of the driver of the parked cargo truck follows that in stamping its imprimatur upon the invocation by respondent Isidro
as well as his helper, the petitioner herein, who was fixing the flat tire of the of the doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur to escape liability for the negligence of his
said truck. 27 employee, the respondent court committed reversible error.

Respondent Isidro's contention is untenable. The respondent court ruled: 32

The evidence on record discloses that three or four meters from the rear of the xxx xxx xxx
parked truck, a lighted kerosene lamp was placed.28 Moreover, there is the
admission of respondent Isidro's driver, Daniel Serrano, to Wit: 29
In addition to this, we agree with the following arguments of
appellant Godofredo Isidro which would show that the
Question No. 8 (by Patrolman Josefino Velasco)—Will you accident was caused due to the negligence of the driver of the
narrate to me in brief how the accident happens (sic) if you cargo truck:
can still remember?
xxx xxx xxx
Answer: (by Daniel Serrano)
... In the case at bar the burden of proving
that care and diligence was (sic) observed is
shifted evidently to the plaintiff, for, as substantial evidence that injury was caused by an agency or
adverted to, the motorists have the right to be instrumentality under exclusive control and management of
on the road, while the immobile truck has no defendant, and that the occurrence was such that in the
business, so to speak, to be there. It is thus ordinary course of things would not happen if reasonable care
for the plaintiff to show to the satisfaction of a had been used.
reasonable mind that the driver and he
himself did employ early warning device such In this jurisdiction we have applied this doctrine in quite a number of cases,
as that required by law or by some other notably in Africa et al. vs. Caltex, Inc., et al., 35 and the latest is in the case
adequate means or device that would of F.F. Cruz and Co., Inc. vs. CA.36
properly forewarn vehicles of the impending
danger that the parked vehicle posed
The doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is peculiar to the law of
considering the time, place and other peculiar negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established
circumstances of the occasion. Absent such without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of
proof of care, as in the case at bar, will evoke
negligence. 37 The doctrine is not a rule of substantive law 38 but merely a
the presumption of negligence under the mode of proof or a mere procedural convenience. 39 The rule, when applicable
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, on the part of the to the facts and circumstances of a particular case, is not intended to and does
driver of the parked cargo truck as well as not dispense with the requirement of proof of culpable negligence on the part
plaintiff who was fixing the flat tire of said of the party charged. 40 It merely determines and regulates what shall be prima
truck. (pp. 14-17, Appellant's Brief).
facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving a breach
(Emphasis supplied).
of the duty of due care.41 The doctrine can be invoked when and only when,
under the circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not readily
At this juncture, it may be enlightening and helpful in the proper resolution of available. 42 Hence, it has generally been held that the presumption of
the issue of negligence to examine the doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur. inference arising from the doctrine cannot be availed of, or is overcome, where
plaintiff has knowledge and testifies or presents evidence as to the specific act
This doctrine is stated thus: "Where the thing which causes injury is shown to of negligence which is the cause of the injury complained of or where there is
be under the management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the direct evidence as to the precise cause of the accident and all the facts and
ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the management circumstances attendant on the occurrence clearly appear. 43 Finally, once the
use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an actual cause of injury is established beyond controversy, whether by the
explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. 33 Or plaintiff or by the defendant, no presumptions will be involved and the doctrine
as Black's Law Dictionary 34 puts it: becomes inapplicable when the circumstances have been so completely
eludicated that no inference of defendant's liability can reasonably be made,
Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself Rebuttable whatever the source of the evidence, 44 as in this case.
presumption or inference that defendant was negligent, which
arises upon proof that instrumentality causing injury was in The private respondent is sued under Art. 2176 in relation to Art. 2180,
defendant's exclusive control, and that the accident was one paragraph 5, of the Civil Code. In the latter, when an injury is caused by the
which ordinarily does not happen in absence of negligence. negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of
Res ipsa loquitur is rule of evidence whereby negligence of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in
alleged wrongdoer may be inferred from mere fact that the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after
accident happened provided character of accident and selection, or both. Such presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure and
circumstances attending it lead reasonably to belief that in consequently, may be rebutted. If follows necessarily that if the employer
absence of negligence it would not have occurred and that shows to the satisfaction of the court that in the selection and in the supervision
thing which caused injury is shown to have been under he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the
management and control of alleged wrongdoer. Hillen v. presumption is overcome and he is relieved from liability. 45 In disclaiming
Hooker Const. Co., Tex. Civ. App., 484 S.W. 2d 133, 155. liability for the incident, the private respondent stresses that the negligence of
Under doctrine of "res ipsa loquitur" the happening of an injury his employee has already been adequately overcome by his driver's statement
permits an inference of negligence where plaintiff produces
that he knew his responsibilities as a driver and that the truck owner used to
instruct him to be careful in driving. 46

We do not agree with the private respondent in his submission. In the first
place, it is clear that the driver did not know his responsibilities because he
apparently did not check his vehicle before he took it on the road. If he did he
could have discovered earlier that the brake fluid pipe on the right was cut, and
could have repaired it and thus the accident could have been avoided.
Moveover, to our mind, the fact that the private respondent used to intruct his
driver to be careful in his driving, that the driver was licensed, and the fact that
he had no record of any accident, as found by the respondent court, are not
sufficient to destroy the finding of negligence of the Regional Trial Court given
the facts established at the trial 47 The private respondent or his mechanic,
who must be competent, should have conducted a thorough inspection of his
vehicle before allowing his driver to drive it. In the light of the circumstances
obtaining in the case, we hold that Isidro failed to prove that the diligence of a
good father of a family in the supervision of his employees which would
exculpate him from solidary liability with his driver to the petitioner. But even if
we concede that the diligence of a good father of a family was observed by
Isidro in the supervision of his driver, there is not an iota of evidence on record
of the observance by Isidro of the same quantum of diligence in the supervision
of his mechanic, if any, who would be directly in charge in maintaining the road
worthiness of his (Isidro's) truck. But that is not all. There is paucity of proof
that Isidro exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
of his driver, Daniel Serrano, as well as in the selection of his mechanic, if any,
in order to insure the safe operation of his truck and thus prevent damage to
others. Accordingly, the responsibility of Isidro as employer treated in Article
2180, paragraph 5, of the Civil Code has not ceased.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the

respondent court as well as its Resolution denying the petitioner's motion for
reconsideration are hereby SET ASIDE and the decision of the trial court,
dated January 20, 1983, is hereby REINSTATED in toto. With costs against
the private respondents.

11. Ramos v. CA (GR No. 124354) are Rommel Ramos, Roy Roderick Ramos and Ron Raymond
Ramos (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 5-6).

Because the discomforts somehow interfered with her normal

G.R. No. 124354 December 29, 1999 ways, she sought professional advice. She was advised to
undergo an operation for the removal of a stone in her gall
ROGELIO E. RAMOS and ERLINDA RAMOS, in their own behalf and as bladder (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 5). She underwent a
natural guardians of the minors, ROMMEL RAMOS, ROY RODERICK series of examinations which included blood and urine tests
RAMOS and RON RAYMOND RAMOS, petitioners, (Exhs. "A" and "C") which indicated she was fit for surgery.
COURT OF APPEALS, DELOS SANTOS MEDICAL CENTER, DR. ORLINO Through the intercession of a mutual friend, Dr. Buenviaje
HOSAKA and DRA. PERFECTA GUTIERREZ, respondents. (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 7), she and her husband Rogelio
met for the first time Dr. Orlino Hozaka (should be
Hosaka; see TSN, February 20, 1990, p. 3), one of the
defendants in this case, on June 10, 1985. They agreed that
KAPUNAN, J.: their date at the operating table at the DLSMC (another
defendant), would be on June 17, 1985 at 9:00 A.M.. Dr.
Hosaka decided that she should undergo a "cholecystectomy"
The Hippocratic Oath mandates physicians to give primordial consideration to operation after examining the documents (findings from the
the health and welfare of their patients. If a doctor fails to live up to this precept, Capitol Medical Center, FEU Hospital and DLSMC) presented
he is made accountable for his acts. A mistake, through gross negligence or to him. Rogelio E. Ramos, however, asked Dr. Hosaka to look
incompetence or plain human error, may spell the difference between life and for a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka, in turn, assured
death. In this sense, the doctor plays God on his patient's fate. 1 Rogelio that he will get a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka
charged a fee of P16,000.00, which was to include the
In the case at bar, the Court is called upon to rule whether a surgeon, an anesthesiologist's fee and which was to be paid after the
anesthesiologist and a hospital should be made liable for the unfortunate operation (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 14-15, 22-23, 31-33;
comatose condition of a patient scheduled for cholecystectomy. 2 TSN, February 27, 1990, p. 13; and TSN, November 9, 1989,
pp. 3-4, 10, 17).
Petitioners seek the reversal of the decision 3 of the Court of Appeals, dated
29 May 1995, which overturned the decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court, A day before the scheduled date of operation, she was
dated 30 January 1992, finding private respondents liable for damages arising admitted at one of the rooms of the DLSMC, located along E.
from negligence in the performance of their professional duties towards Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City (TSN, October 19,1989, p.
petitioner Erlinda Ramos resulting in her comatose condition. 11).

The antecedent facts as summarized by the trial court are reproduced At around 7:30 A.M. of June 17, 1985 and while still in her
hereunder: room, she was prepared for the operation by the hospital staff.
Her sister-in-law, Herminda Cruz, who was the Dean of the
Plaintiff Erlinda Ramos was, until the afternoon of June 17, College of Nursing at the Capitol Medical Center, was also
1985, a 47-year old (Exh. "A") robust woman (TSN, October there for moral support. She reiterated her previous request
19, 1989, p. 10). Except for occasional complaints of for Herminda to be with her even during the operation. After
discomfort due to pains allegedly caused by the presence of praying, she was given injections. Her hands were held by
a stone in her gall bladder (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 4-5), Herminda as they went down from her room to the operating
she was as normal as any other woman. Married to Rogelio room (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 9-11). Her husband,
E. Ramos, an executive of Philippine Long Distance Rogelio, was also with her (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 18). At
Telephone Company, she has three children whose names the operating room, Herminda saw about two or three nurses
and Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, the other defendant, who was to
administer anesthesia. Although not a member of the hospital what Dr. Gutierrez was doing. She thereafter noticed bluish
staff, Herminda introduced herself as Dean of the College of discoloration of the nailbeds of the left hand of the hapless
Nursing at the Capitol Medical Center who was to provide Erlinda even as Dr. Hosaka approached her. She then heard
moral support to the patient, to them. Herminda was allowed Dr. Hosaka issue an order for someone to call Dr. Calderon,
to stay inside the operating room. another anesthesiologist (id., p. 19). After Dr. Calderon
arrived at the operating room, she saw this anesthesiologist
At around 9:30 A.M., Dr. Gutierrez reached a nearby phone trying to intubate the patient. The patient's nailbed became
to look for Dr. Hosaka who was not yet in (TSN, January 13, bluish and the patient was placed in a trendelenburg position
1988, pp. 11-12). Dr. Gutierrez thereafter informed Herminda — a position where the head of the patient is placed in a
Cruz about the prospect of a delay in the arrival of Dr. Hosaka. position lower than her feet which is an indication that there is
Herminda then went back to the patient who asked, "Mindy, a decrease of blood supply to the patient's brain (Id., pp. 19-
wala pa ba ang Doctor"? The former replied, "Huwag kang 20). Immediately thereafter, she went out of the operating
mag-alaala, darating na iyon" (Ibid.). room, and she told Rogelio E. Ramos "that something wrong
was . . . happening" (Ibid.). Dr. Calderon was then able to
Thereafter, Herminda went out of the operating room and intubate the patient (TSN, July 25, 1991, p. 9).
informed the patient's husband, Rogelio, that the doctor was
not yet around (id., p. 13). When she returned to the operating Meanwhile, Rogelio, who was outside the operating room,
room, the patient told her, "Mindy, inip na inip na ako, ikuha saw a respiratory machine being rushed towards the door of
mo ako ng ibang Doctor." So, she went out again and told the operating room. He also saw several doctors rushing
Rogelio about what the patient said (id., p. 15). Thereafter, towards the operating room. When informed by Herminda
she returned to the operating room. Cruz that something wrong was happening, he told her
(Herminda) to be back with the patient inside the operating
At around 10:00 A.M., Rogelio E. Ramos was "already dying room (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 25-28).
[and] waiting for the arrival of the doctor" even as he did his
best to find somebody who will allow him to pull out his wife Herminda Cruz immediately rushed back, and saw that the
from the operating room (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 19-20). patient was still in trendelenburg position (TSN, January 13,
He also thought of the feeling of his wife, who was inside the 1988, p. 20). At almost 3:00 P.M. of that fateful day, she saw
operating room waiting for the doctor to arrive (ibid.). At almost the patient taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
12:00 noon, he met Dr. Garcia who remarked that he (Dr.
Garcia) was also tired of waiting for Dr. Hosaka to arrive (id., About two days thereafter, Rogelio E. Ramos was able to talk
p. 21). While talking to Dr. Garcia at around 12:10 P.M., he to Dr. Hosaka. The latter informed the former that something
came to know that Dr. Hosaka arrived as a nurse remarked, went wrong during the intubation. Reacting to what was told
"Nandiyan na si Dr. Hosaka, dumating na raw." Upon hearing to him, Rogelio reminded the doctor that the condition of his
those words, he went down to the lobby and waited for the wife would not have happened, had he (Dr. Hosaka) looked
operation to be completed (id., pp. 16, 29-30). for a good anesthesiologist (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 31).

At about 12:15 P.M., Herminda Cruz, who was inside the Doctors Gutierrez and Hosaka were also asked by the
operating room with the patient, heard somebody say that "Dr. hospital to explain what happened to the patient. The doctors
Hosaka is already here." She then saw people inside the explained that the patient had bronchospasm (TSN,
operating room "moving, doing this and that, [and] preparing November 15, 1990, pp. 26-27).
the patient for the operation" (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 16).
As she held the hand of Erlinda Ramos, she then saw Dr. Erlinda Ramos stayed at the ICU for a month. About four
Gutierrez intubating the hapless patient. She thereafter heard months thereafter or on November 15, 1985, the patient was
Dr. Gutierrez say, "ang hirap ma-intubate nito, mali yata ang released from the hospital.
pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan" (id., p. 17). Because of
the remarks of Dra. Gutierrez, she focused her attention on
During the whole period of her confinement, she incurred (TSN, August 20, 1991, pp. 5-10), without due regard to the
hospital bills amounting to P93,542.25 which is the subject of fact that the patient was inside the operating room for almost
a promissory note and affidavit of undertaking executed by three (3) hours. For after she committed a mistake in
Rogelio E. Ramos in favor of DLSMC. Since that fateful intubating [the] patient, the patient's nailbed became bluish
afternoon of June 17, 1985, she has been in a comatose and the patient, thereafter, was placed in trendelenburg
condition. She cannot do anything. She cannot move any part position, because of the decrease of blood supply to the
of her body. She cannot see or hear. She is living on patient's brain. The evidence further shows that the hapless
mechanical means. She suffered brain damage as a result of patient suffered brain damage because of the absence of
the absence of oxygen in her brain for four to five minutes oxygen in her (patient's) brain for approximately four to five
(TSN, November 9, 1989, pp. 21-22). After being discharged minutes which, in turn, caused the patient to become
from the hospital, she has been staying in their residence, still comatose.
needing constant medical attention, with her husband Rogelio
incurring a monthly expense ranging from P8,000.00 to On the part of Dr. Orlino Hosaka, this Court finds that he is
P10,000.00 (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 32-34). She was liable for the acts of Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez whom he had
also diagnosed to be suffering from "diffuse cerebral chosen to administer anesthesia on the patient as part of his
parenchymal damage" (Exh. "G"; see also TSN, December obligation to provide the patient a good anesthesiologist', and
21, 1989, for arriving for the scheduled operation almost three (3) hours
p. 6). 5 late.

Thus, on 8 January 1986, petitioners filed a civil case 6 for damages with the On the part of DLSMC (the hospital), this Court finds that it is
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City against herein private respondents liable for the acts of negligence of the doctors in their "practice
alleging negligence in the management and care of Erlinda Ramos. of medicine" in the operating room. Moreover, the hospital is
liable for failing through its responsible officials, to cancel the
During the trial, both parties presented evidence as to the possible cause of scheduled operation after Dr. Hosaka inexcusably failed to
Erlinda's injury. Plaintiff presented the testimonies of Dean Herminda Cruz and arrive on time.
Dr. Mariano Gavino to prove that the sustained by Erlinda was due to lack of
oxygen in her brain caused by the faulty management of her airway by private In having held thus, this Court rejects the defense raised by
respondents during the anesthesia phase. On the other hand, private defendants that they have acted with due care and prudence
respondents primarily relied on the expert testimony of Dr. Eduardo Jamora, a in rendering medical services to plaintiff-patient. For if the
pulmonologist, to the effect that the cause of brain damage was Erlinda's patient was properly intubated as claimed by them, the patient
allergic reaction to the anesthetic agent, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal). would not have become comatose. And, the fact that another
anesthesiologist was called to try to intubate the patient after
After considering the evidence from both sides, the Regional Trial Court her (the patient's) nailbed turned bluish, belie their claim.
rendered judgment in favor of petitioners, to wit: Furthermore, the defendants should have rescheduled the
operation to a later date. This, they should have done, if
After evaluating the evidence as shown in the finding of facts defendants acted with due care and prudence as the patient's
set forth earlier, and applying the aforecited provisions of law case was an elective, not an emergency case.
and jurisprudence to the case at bar, this Court finds and so
holds that defendants are liable to plaintiffs for damages. The xxx xxx xxx
defendants were guilty of, at the very least, negligence in the
performance of their duty to plaintiff-patient Erlinda Ramos. WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing, judgment is
rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants.
On the part of Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, this Court finds that she Accordingly, the latter are ordered to pay, jointly and
omitted to exercise reasonable care in not only intubating the severally, the former the following sums of money, to wit:
patient, but also in not repeating the administration of atropine
1) the sum of P8,000.00 as actual monthly that the period to file the appropriate pleading on the assailed decision had not
expenses for the plaintiff Erlinda Ramos yet commenced to run as the Division Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals
reckoned from November 15, 1985 or in the had not yet served a copy thereof to the counsel on record. Despite this
total sum of P632,000.00 as of April 15, 1992, explanation, the appellate court still denied the motion to admit the motion for
subject to its being updated; reconsideration of petitioners in its Resolution, dated 29 March 1996, primarily
on the ground that the fifteen-day (15) period for filing a motion for
2) the sum of P100,000.00 as reasonable reconsideration had already expired, to wit:
attorney's fees;
We said in our Resolution on July 25, 1995, that the filing of a
3) the sum of P800,000.00 by way of moral Motion for Reconsideration cannot be extended; precisely, the
damages and the further sum of P200,000,00 Motion for Extension (Rollo, p. 12) was denied. It is, on the
by way of exemplary damages; and, other hand, admitted in the latter Motion that
plaintiffs/appellees received a copy of the decision as early as
4) the costs of the suit. June 9, 1995. Computation wise, the period to file a Motion
for Reconsideration expired on June 24. The Motion for
Reconsideration, in turn, was received by the Court of
SO ORDERED. 7 Appeals already on July 4, necessarily, the 15-day period
already passed. For that alone, the latter should be denied.
Private respondents seasonably interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
The appellate court rendered a Decision, dated 29 May 1995, reversing the Even assuming admissibility of the Motion for the
findings of the trial court. The decretal portion of the decision of the appellate Reconsideration, but after considering the
court reads: Comment/Opposition, the former, for lack of merit, is hereby
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing premises the appealed
decision is hereby REVERSED, and the complaint below SO ORDERED. 10
against the appellants is hereby ordered DISMISSED. The
counterclaim of appellant De Los Santos Medical Center is
A copy of the above resolution was received by Atty. Sillano on 11 April 1996.
GRANTED but only insofar as appellees are hereby ordered
The next day, or on 12 April 1996, Atty. Sillano filed before this Court a motion
to pay the unpaid hospital bills amounting to P93,542.25, plus
for extension of time to file the present petition for certiorari under Rule 45.
legal interest for justice must be tempered with mercy.
The Court granted the motion for extension of time and gave petitioners
additional thirty (30) days after the expiration of the fifteen-day (15) period
SO ORDERED. 8 counted from the receipt of the resolution of the Court of Appeals within which
to submit the petition. The due date fell on 27 May 1996. The petition was filed
The decision of the Court of Appeals was received on 9 June 1995 by on 9 May 1996, well within the extended period given by the Court.
petitioner Rogelio Ramos who was mistakenly addressed as "Atty. Rogelio
Ramos." No copy of the decision, however, was sent nor received by the Petitioners assail the decision of the Court of Appeals on the following
Coronel Law Office, then counsel on record of petitioners. Rogelio referred the grounds:
decision of the appellate court to a new lawyer, Atty. Ligsay, only on 20 June
1995, or four (4) days before the expiration of the reglementary period for filing
a motion for reconsideration. On the same day, Atty. Ligsay, filed with the
appellate court a motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration. The motion for reconsideration was submitted on 4 July 1995. IN PUTTING MUCH RELIANCE ON THE TESTIMONIES OF
However, the appellate court denied the motion for extension of time in its RESPONDENTS DRA. GUTIERREZ, DRA. CALDERON
Resolution dated 25 July 1995. 9Meanwhile, petitioners engaged the services AND DR. JAMORA;
of another counsel, Atty. Sillano, to replace Atty. Ligsay. Atty. Sillano filed on
7 August 1995 a motion to admit the motion for reconsideration contending II
IN FINDING THAT THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE first consider the issue on the applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa loquiturto
RESPONDENTS DID NOT CAUSE THE UNFORTUNATE the instant case. Thereafter, the first two assigned errors shall be tackled in
COMATOSE CONDITION OF PETITIONER ERLINDA relation to the res ipsa loquiturdoctrine.
Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the
III transaction speaks for itself." The phrase "res ipsa loquitur'' is a maxim for the
rule that the fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding
IN NOT APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a presumption of negligence,
LOQUITUR. 11 or make out a plaintiff's prima facie case, and present a question of fact for
defendant to meet with an explanation. 13 Where the thing which caused the
Before we discuss the merits of the case, we shall first dispose of the injury complained of is shown to be under the management of the defendant
procedural issue on the timeliness of the petition in relation to the motion for or his servants and the accident is such as in ordinary course of things does
not happen if those who have its management or control use proper care, it
reconsideration filed by petitioners with the Court of Appeals. In their
Comment, 12 private respondents contend that the petition should not be given affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant,
due course since the motion for reconsideration of the petitioners on the that the accident arose from or was caused by the defendant's want of care. 14
decision of the Court of Appeals was validly dismissed by the appellate court
for having been filed beyond the reglementary period. We do not agree. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a recognition of the postulate that,
as a matter of common knowledge and experience, the very nature of certain
A careful review of the records reveals that the reason behind the delay in filing types of occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the
person who controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the absence of
the motion for reconsideration is attributable to the fact that the decision of the
some explanation by the defendant who is charged with negligence. 15 It is
Court of Appeals was not sent to then counsel on record of petitioners, the
Coronel Law Office. In fact, a copy of the decision of the appellate court was grounded in the superior logic of ordinary human experience and on the basis
instead sent to and received by petitioner Rogelio Ramos on 9 June 1995 of such experience or common knowledge, negligence may be deduced from
the mere occurrence of the accident itself. 16 Hence, res ipsa loquitur is
wherein he was mistakenly addressed as Atty. Rogelio Ramos. Based on the
other communications received by petitioner Rogelio Ramos, the appellate applied in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge.
court apparently mistook him for the counsel on record. Thus, no copy of the
decision of the counsel on record. Petitioner, not being a lawyer and unaware However, much has been said that res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of substantive
of the prescriptive period for filing a motion for reconsideration, referred the law and, as such, does not create or constitute an independent or separate
same to a legal counsel only on 20 June 1995. ground of liability. 17 Instead, it is considered as merely evidentiary or in the
nature of a procedural rule. 18 It is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere
It is elementary that when a party is represented by counsel, all notices should procedural of convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves a
be sent to the party's lawyer at his given address. With a few exceptions, notice plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence. 19 In other
words, mere invocation and application of the doctrine does not dispense with
to a litigant without notice to his counsel on record is no notice at all. In the
the requirement of proof of negligence. It is simply a step in the process of
present case, since a copy of the decision of the appellate court was not sent
to the counsel on record of petitioner, there can be no sufficient notice to speak such proof, permitting the plaintiff to present along with the proof of the
accident, enough of the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine,
of. Hence, the delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration cannot be
creating an inference or presumption of negligence, and to thereby place on
taken against petitioner. Moreover, since the Court of Appeals already issued
a second Resolution, dated 29 March 1996, which superseded the earlier the defendant the burden of going forward with the proof. 20 Still, before resort
to the doctrine may be allowed, the following requisites must be satisfactorily
resolution issued on 25 July 1995, and denied the motion for reconsideration
of petitioner, we believed that the receipt of the former should be considered
in determining the timeliness of the filing of the present petition. Based on this,
the petition before us was submitted on time. 1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily
does not occur in the absence of someone's
After resolving the foregoing procedural issue, we shall now look into the
merits of the case. For a more logical presentation of the discussion we shall
2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the prove a nexus between the particular act or omission complained of and the
exclusive control of the defendant or injury sustained while under the custody and management of the defendant
defendants; and without need to produce expert medical testimony to establish the standard of
care. Resort to res ipsa loquitur is allowed because there is no other way,
3. The possibility of contributing conduct under usual and ordinary conditions, by which the patient can obtain redress
which would make the plaintiff responsible is for injury suffered by him.
eliminated. 21
Thus, courts of other jurisdictions have applied the doctrine in the following
In the above requisites, the fundamental element is the "control of situations: leaving of a foreign object in the body of the patient after an
instrumentality" which caused the damage. 22Such element of control must be operation, 32 injuries sustained on a healthy part of the body which was not
shown to be within the dominion of the defendant. In order to have the benefit under, or in the area, of treatment, 33 removal of the wrong part of the body
of the rule, a plaintiff, in addition to proving injury or damage, must show a when another part was intended, 34 knocking out a tooth while a patient's jaw
situation where it is applicable, and must establish that the essential elements was under anesthetic for the removal of his tonsils, 35 and loss of an eye while
of the doctrine were present in a particular incident. 23 the patient plaintiff was under the influence of anesthetic, during or following
an operation for appendicitis, 36 among others.
Medical malpractice 24 cases do not escape the application of this doctrine.
Thus, res ipsa loquitur has been applied when the circumstances attendant Nevertheless, despite the fact that the scope of res ipsa loquitur has been
upon the harm are themselves of such a character as to justify an inference of measurably enlarged, it does not automatically apply to all cases of medical
negligence as the cause of that harm. 25 The application of res ipsa loquitur in negligence as to mechanically shift the burden of proof to the defendant to
medical negligence cases presents a question of law since it is a judicial show that he is not guilty of the ascribed negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is not a
function to determine whether a certain set of circumstances does, as a matter rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but a rule to be cautiously
of law, permit a given inference. 26 applied, depending upon the circumstances of each case. It is generally
restricted to situations in malpractice cases where a layman is able to say, as
a matter of common knowledge and observation, that the consequences of
Although generally, expert medical testimony is relied upon in malpractice
suits to prove that a physician has done a negligent act or that he has deviated professional care were not as such as would ordinarily have followed if due
from the standard medical procedure, when the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is care had been
availed by the plaintiff, the need for expert medical testimony is dispensed with exercised. 37 A distinction must be made between the failure to secure results,
because the injury itself provides the proof of negligence. 27 The reason is that and the occurrence of something more unusual and not ordinarily found if the
service or treatment rendered followed the usual procedure of those skilled in
the general rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies only to such
that particular practice. It must be conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa
matters clearly within the domain of medical science, and not to matters that
loquitur can have no application in a suit against a physician or surgeon which
are within the common knowledge of mankind which may be testified to by
involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment. 38 The physician
anyone familiar with the facts. 28 Ordinarily, only physicians and surgeons of
skill and experience are competent to testify as to whether a patient has been or surgeon is not required at his peril to explain why any particular diagnosis
was not correct, or why any particular scientific treatment did not produce the
treated or operated upon with a reasonable degree of skill and care. However,
desired result. 39 Thus, res ipsa loquitur is not available in a malpractice suit if
testimony as to the statements and acts of physicians and surgeons, external
appearances, and manifest conditions which are observable by any one may the only showing is that the desired result of an operation or treatment was not
be given by non-expert witnesses. 29 Hence, in cases where the res ipsa accomplished. 40The real question, therefore, is whether or not in the process
loquitur is applicable, the court is permitted to find a physician negligent upon of the operation any extraordinary incident or unusual event outside of the
proper proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert testimony, where routine performance occurred which is beyond the regular scope of customary
professional activity in such operations, which, if unexplained would
the court from its fund of common knowledge can determine the proper
standard of care. 30 Where common knowledge and experience teach that a themselves reasonably speak to the average man as the negligent cause or
resulting injury would not have occurred to the patient if due care had been causes of the untoward consequence. 41 If there was such extraneous
interventions, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur may be utilized and the
exercised, an inference of negligence may be drawn giving rise to an
defendant is called upon to explain the matter, by evidence of exculpation, if
application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur without medical evidence, which
is ordinarily required to show not only what occurred but how and why it he could. 42
occurred. 31 When the doctrine is appropriate, all that the patient must do is
We find the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur appropriate in the case at bar. As will body. However, during the administration of anesthesia and prior to the
hereinafter be explained, the damage sustained by Erlinda in her brain prior to performance of cholecystectomy she suffered irreparable damage to her brain.
a scheduled gall bladder operation presents a case for the application of res Thus, without undergoing surgery, she went out of the operating room already
ipsa loquitur. decerebrate and totally incapacitated. Obviously, brain damage, which Erlinda
sustained, is an injury which does not normally occur in the process of a gall
A case strikingly similar to the one before us is Voss vs. Bridwell, 43 where the bladder operation. In fact, this kind of situation does not in the absence of
Kansas Supreme Court in applying the res ipsa loquitur stated: negligence of someone in the administration of anesthesia and in the use of
endotracheal tube. Normally, a person being put under anesthesia is not
The plaintiff herein submitted himself for a mastoid operation rendered decerebrate as a consequence of administering such anesthesia if
and delivered his person over to the care, custody and control the proper procedure was followed. Furthermore, the instruments used in the
administration of anesthesia, including the endotracheal tube, were all under
of his physician who had complete and exclusive control over
him, but the operation was never performed. At the time of the exclusive control of private respondents, who are the physicians-in-charge.
submission he was neurologically sound and physically fit in Likewise, petitioner Erlinda could not have been guilty of contributory
negligence because she was under the influence of anesthetics which
mind and body, but he suffered irreparable damage and injury
rendering him decerebrate and totally incapacitated. The rendered her unconscious.
injury was one which does not ordinarily occur in the process
of a mastoid operation or in the absence of negligence in the Considering that a sound and unaffected member of the body (the brain) is
administration of an anesthetic, and in the use and injured or destroyed while the patient is unconscious and under the immediate
employment of an endoctracheal tube. Ordinarily a person and exclusive control of the physicians, we hold that a practical administration
being put under anesthesia is not rendered decerebrate as a of justice dictates the application of res ipsa loquitur. Upon these facts and
consequence of administering such anesthesia in the under these circumstances the Court would be able to say, as a matter of
absence of negligence. Upon these facts and under these common knowledge and observation, if negligence attended the management
circumstances a layman would be able to say, as a matter of and care of the patient. Moreover, the liability of the physicians and the hospital
common knowledge and observation, that the consequences in this case is not predicated upon an alleged failure to secure the desired
of professional treatment were not as such as would ordinarily results of an operation nor on an alleged lack of skill in the diagnosis or
have followed if due care had been exercised. treatment as in fact no operation or treatment was ever performed on Erlinda.
Thus, upon all these initial determination a case is made out for the application
Here the plaintiff could not have been guilty of contributory of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
negligence because he was under the influence of
anesthetics and unconscious, and the circumstances are Nonetheless, in holding that res ipsa loquitur is available to the present case
such that the true explanation of event is more accessible to we are not saying that the doctrine is applicable in any and all cases where
the defendants than to the plaintiff for they had the exclusive injury occurs to a patient while under anesthesia, or to any and all anesthesia
control of the instrumentalities of anesthesia. cases. Each case must be viewed in its own light and scrutinized in order to
be within the res ipsa loquitur coverage.
Upon all the facts, conditions and circumstances alleged in
Count II it is held that a cause of action is stated under the Having in mind the applicability of the res ipsa loquitur doctrine and the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. 44 presumption of negligence allowed therein, the Court now comes to the issue
of whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that private respondents were
not negligent in the care of Erlinda during the anesthesia phase of the
Indeed, the principles enunciated in the aforequoted case apply with equal
operation and, if in the affirmative, whether the alleged negligence was the
force here. In the present case, Erlinda submitted herself for cholecystectomy
and expected a routine general surgery to be performed on her gall bladder. proximate cause of Erlinda's comatose condition. Corollary thereto, we shall
On that fateful day she delivered her person over to the care, custody and also determine if the Court of Appeals erred in relying on the testimonies of
control of private respondents who exercised complete and exclusive control the witnesses for the private respondents.
over her. At the time of submission, Erlinda was neurologically sound and,
except for a few minor discomforts, was likewise physically fit in mind and In sustaining the position of private respondents, the Court of Appeals relied
on the testimonies of Dra. Gutierrez, Dra. Calderon and Dr. Jamora. In giving
weight to the testimony of Dra. Gutierrez, the Court of Appeals rationalized ATTY. ALCERA:
that she was candid enough to admit that she experienced some difficulty in
the endotracheal intubation 45 of the patient and thus, cannot be said to be She will be incompetent Your Honor.
covering her negligence with falsehood. The appellate court likewise opined
that private respondents were able to show that the brain damage sustained COURT:
by Erlinda was not caused by the alleged faulty intubation but was due to the
allergic reaction of the patient to the drug Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal), a
short-acting barbiturate, as testified on by their expert witness, Dr. Jamora. On Witness may answer if she knows.
the other hand, the appellate court rejected the testimony of Dean Herminda
Cruz offered in favor of petitioners that the cause of the brain injury was A: As have said, I was with the patient, I was
traceable to the wrongful insertion of the tube since the latter, being a nurse, beside the stretcher holding the left hand of
was allegedly not knowledgeable in the process of intubation. In so holding, the patient and all of a sudden heard some
the appellate court returned a verdict in favor of respondents physicians and remarks coming from Dra. Perfecta Gutierrez
hospital and absolved them of any liability towards Erlinda and her family. herself. She was saying "Ang hirap ma-
intubate nito, mali yata ang pagkakapasok. O
We disagree with the findings of the Court of Appeals. We hold that private lumalaki ang tiyan.
respondents were unable to disprove the presumption of negligence on their
part in the care of Erlinda and their negligence was the proximate cause of her xxx xxx xxx
piteous condition.
In the instant case, the records are helpful in furnishing not only the logical
scientific evidence of the pathogenesis of the injury but also in providing the Q: From whom did you hear those words
Court the legal nexus upon which liability is based. As will be shown "lumalaki ang tiyan"?
hereinafter, private respondents' own testimonies which are reflected in the
transcript of stenographic notes are replete of signposts indicative of their A: From Dra. Perfecta Gutierrez.
negligence in the care and management of Erlinda.
xxx xxx xxx
With regard to Dra. Gutierrez, we find her negligent in the care of Erlinda during
the anesthesia phase. As borne by the records, respondent Dra. Gutierrez
Q: After hearing the phrase "lumalaki ang
failed to properly intubate the patient. This fact was attested to by Prof.
tiyan," what did you notice on the person of
Herminda Cruz, Dean of the Capitol Medical Center School of Nursing and
the patient?
petitioner's sister-in-law, who was in the operating room right beside the
patient when the tragic event occurred. Witness Cruz testified to this effect:
A: I notice (sic) some bluish discoloration on
the nailbeds of the left hand where I was at.
Q: Where was Dr. Orlino Ho[s]aka then at
Q: In particular, what did Dra. Perfecta
that particular time?
Gutierrez do, if any on the patient?
A: I saw him approaching the patient during
A: In particular, I could see that she was
that time.
intubating the patient.
Q: When he approached the patient, what did
Q: Do you know what happened to that
he do, if any?
intubation process administered by Dra.
A: He made an order to call on the in its proper place, and to determine the condition of the heart,
anesthesiologist in the person of Dr. lungs, and other organs. Thus, witness Cruz's categorical
Calderon. statements that appellant Dra. Gutierrez failed to intubate the
appellee Erlinda Ramos and that it was Dra. Calderon who
Q: Did Dr. Calderon, upon being called, arrive succeeded in doing so clearly suffer from lack of sufficient
inside the operating room? factual bases. 47

A: Yes sir. In other words, what the Court of Appeals is trying to impress is that being a
nurse, and considered a layman in the process of intubation, witness Cruz is
Q: What did [s]he do, if any? not competent to testify on whether or not the intubation was a success.

We do not agree with the above reasoning of the appellate court. Although
A: [S]he tried to intubate the patient.
witness Cruz is not an anesthesiologist, she can very well testify upon matters
on which she is capable of observing such as, the statements and acts of the
Q: What happened to the patient? physician and surgeon, external appearances, and manifest conditions which
are observable by any one. 48 This is precisely allowed under the doctrine
A: When Dr. Calderon try (sic) to intubate the of res ipsa loquitur where the testimony of expert witnesses is not required. It
patient, after a while the patient's nailbed is the accepted rule that expert testimony is not necessary for the proof of
became bluish and I saw the patient was negligence in non-technical matters or those of which an ordinary person may
placed in trendelenburg position. be expected to have knowledge, or where the lack of skill or want of care is so
obvious as to render expert testimony unnecessary. 49 We take judicial notice
xxx xxx xxx of the fact that anesthesia procedures have become so common, that even an
ordinary person can tell if it was administered properly. As such, it would not
Q: Do you know the reason why the patient be too difficult to tell if the tube was properly inserted. This kind of observation,
was placed in that trendelenburg position? we believe, does not require a medical degree to be acceptable.

A: As far as I know, when a patient is in that At any rate, without doubt, petitioner's witness, an experienced clinical nurse
position, there is a decrease of blood supply whose long experience and scholarship led to her appointment as Dean of the
to the brain. 46 Capitol Medical Center School at Nursing, was fully capable of determining
whether or not the intubation was a success. She had extensive clinical
experience starting as a staff nurse in Chicago, Illinois; staff nurse and clinical
xxx xxx xxx
instructor in a teaching hospital, the FEU-NRMF; Dean of the Laguna College
of Nursing in San Pablo City; and then Dean of the Capitol Medical Center
The appellate court, however, disbelieved Dean Cruz's testimony in the trial School of Nursing. 50Reviewing witness Cruz' statements, we find that the
court by declaring that: same were delivered in a straightforward manner, with the kind of detail, clarity,
consistency and spontaneity which would have been difficult to fabricate. With
A perusal of the standard nursing curriculum in our country her clinical background as a nurse, the Court is satisfied that she was able to
will show that intubation is not taught as part of nursing demonstrate through her testimony what truly transpired on that fateful day.
procedures and techniques. Indeed, we take judicial notice of
the fact that nurses do not, and cannot, intubate. Even on the Most of all, her testimony was affirmed by no less than respondent Dra.
assumption that she is fully capable of determining whether or Gutierrez who admitted that she experienced difficulty in inserting the tube into
not a patient is properly intubated, witness Herminda Cruz, Erlinda's trachea, to wit:
admittedly, did not peep into the throat of the patient. (TSN,
July 25, 1991, p. 13). More importantly, there is no evidence
that she ever auscultated the patient or that she conducted
any type of examination to check if the endotracheal tube was
Q: In this particular case, Doctora, while you accidents. Pre-operative evaluation and preparation for anesthesia begins
were intubating at your first attempt (sic), you when the anesthesiologist reviews the patient's medical records and visits with
did not immediately see the trachea? the patient, traditionally, the day before elective surgery. 53 It includes taking
the patient's medical history, review of current drug therapy, physical
DRA. GUTIERREZ: examination and interpretation of laboratory data. 54 The physical examination
performed by the anesthesiologist is directed primarily toward the central
A: Yes sir. nervous system, cardiovascular system, lungs and upper airway. 55 A
thorough analysis of the patient's airway normally involves investigating the
following: cervical spine mobility, temporomandibular mobility, prominent
Q: Did you pull away the tube immediately? central incisors, diseased or artificial teeth, ability to visualize uvula and the
thyromental distance. 56Thus, physical characteristics of the patient's upper
A: You do not pull the . . . airway that could make tracheal intubation difficult should be studied. 57 Where
the need arises, as when initial assessment indicates possible problems (such
Q: Did you or did you not? as the alleged short neck and protruding teeth of Erlinda) a thorough
examination of the patient's airway would go a long way towards decreasing
A: I did not pull the tube. patient morbidity and mortality.

Q: When you said "mahirap yata ito," what In the case at bar, respondent Dra. Gutierrez admitted that she saw Erlinda for
were you referring to? the first time on the day of the operation itself, on 17 June 1985. Before this
date, no prior consultations with, or pre-operative evaluation of Erlinda was
done by her. Until the day of the operation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez was
A: "Mahirap yata itong i-intubate," that was
unaware of the physiological make-up and needs of Erlinda. She was likewise
the patient.
not properly informed of the possible difficulties she would face during the
administration of anesthesia to Erlinda. Respondent Dra. Gutierrez' act of
Q: So, you found some difficulty in inserting seeing her patient for the first time only an hour before the scheduled operative
the tube? procedure was, therefore, an act of exceptional negligence and professional
irresponsibility. The measures cautioning prudence and vigilance in dealing
A: Yes, because of (sic) my first attempt, I did with human lives lie at the core of the physician's centuries-old Hippocratic
not see right away. 51 Oath. Her failure to follow this medical procedure is, therefore, a clear indicia of
her negligence.
Curiously in the case at bar, respondent Dra. Gutierrez made the haphazard
defense that she encountered hardship in the insertion of the tube in the Respondent Dra. Gutierrez, however, attempts to gloss over this omission by
trachea of Erlinda because it was positioned more anteriorly (slightly deviated playing around with the trial court's ignorance of clinical procedure, hoping that
from the normal anatomy of a person) 52 making it harder to locate and, since she could get away with it. Respondent Dra. Gutierrez tried to muddle the
Erlinda is obese and has a short neck and protruding teeth, it made intubation difference between an elective surgery and an emergency surgery just so her
even more difficult. failure to perform the required pre-operative evaluation would escape
unnoticed. In her testimony she asserted:
The argument does not convince us. If this was indeed observed, private
respondents adduced no evidence demonstrating that they proceeded to ATTY. LIGSAY:
make a thorough assessment of Erlinda's airway, prior to the induction of
anesthesia, even if this would mean postponing the procedure. From their Q: Would you agree, Doctor, that it is good
testimonies, it appears that the observation was made only as an afterthought, medical practice to see the patient a day
as a means of defense. before so you can introduce yourself to
establish good doctor-patient relationship
The pre-operative evaluation of a patient prior to the administration of and gain the trust and confidence of the
anesthesia is universally observed to lessen the possibility of anesthetic patient?
DRA. GUTIERREZ: First of all, Dr. Jamora cannot be considered an authority in the field of
anesthesiology simply because he is not an anesthesiologist. Since Dr.
A: As I said in my previous statement, it Jamora is a pulmonologist, he could not have been capable of properly
depends on the operative procedure of the enlightening the court about anesthesia practice and procedure and their
anesthesiologist and in my case, with elective complications. Dr. Jamora is likewise not an allergologist and could not
cases and normal cardio-pulmonary therefore properly advance expert opinion on allergic-mediated processes.
clearance like that, I usually don't do it except Moreover, he is not a pharmacologist and, as such, could not have been
on emergency and on cases that have an capable, as an expert would, of explaining to the court the pharmacologic and
abnormalities (sic). 58 toxic effects of the supposed culprit, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal).

However, the exact opposite is true. In an emergency procedure, there is The inappropriateness and absurdity of accepting Dr. Jamora's testimony as
hardly enough time available for the fastidious demands of pre-operative an expert witness in the anesthetic practice of Pentothal administration is
procedure so that an anesthesiologist is able to see the patient only a few further supported by his own admission that he formulated his opinions on the
minutes before surgery, if at all. Elective procedures, on the other hand, are drug not from the practical experience gained by a specialist or expert in the
operative procedures that can wait for days, weeks or even months. Hence, in administration and use of Sodium Pentothal on patients, but only from reading
these cases, the anesthesiologist possesses the luxury of time to be at the certain references, to wit:
patient's beside to do a proper interview and clinical evaluation. There is ample
time to explain the method of anesthesia, the drugs to be used, and their ATTY. LIGSAY:
possible hazards for purposes of informed consent. Usually, the pre-operative
assessment is conducted at least one day before the intended surgery, when Q: In your line of expertise on pulmonology,
the patient is relaxed and cooperative. did you have any occasion to use pentothal
as a method of management?
Erlinda's case was elective and this was known to respondent Dra. Gutierrez.
Thus, she had all the time to make a thorough evaluation of Erlinda's case DR. JAMORA:
prior to the operation and prepare her for anesthesia. However, she never saw
the patient at the bedside. She herself admitted that she had seen petitioner A: We do it in conjunction with the
only in the operating room, and only on the actual date of the cholecystectomy. anesthesiologist when they have to intubate
She negligently failed to take advantage of this important opportunity. As such, our patient.
her attempt to exculpate herself must fail.
Q: But not in particular when you practice
Having established that respondent Dra. Gutierrez failed to perform pre- pulmonology?
operative evaluation of the patient which, in turn, resulted to a wrongful
intubation, we now determine if the faulty intubation is truly the proximate
cause of Erlinda's comatose condition. A: No.

Private respondents repeatedly hammered the view that the cerebral anoxia Q: In other words, your knowledge about
which led to Erlinda's coma was due to bronchospasm 59 mediated by her pentothal is based only on what you have
allergic response to the drug, Thiopental Sodium, introduced into her system. read from books and not by your own
Towards this end, they presented Dr. Jamora, a Fellow of the Philippine personal application of the medicine
College of Physicians and Diplomate of the Philippine Specialty Board of pentothal?
Internal Medicine, who advanced private respondents' theory that the oxygen
deprivation which led to anoxic encephalopathy, 60 was due to an A: Based on my personal experience also on
unpredictable drug reaction to the short-acting barbiturate. We find the theory pentothal.
of private respondents unacceptable.
Q: How many times have you used support in evidence. No evidence of stridor, skin reactions, or wheezing —
pentothal? some of the more common accompanying signs of an allergic reaction —
appears on record. No laboratory data were ever presented to the court.
A: They used it on me. I went into
bronchospasm during my appendectomy. In any case, private respondents themselves admit that Thiopental induced,
allergic-mediated bronchospasm happens only very rarely. If courts were to
Q: And because they have used it on you and accept private respondents' hypothesis without supporting medical proof, and
on account of your own personal experience against the weight of available evidence, then every anesthetic accident would
you feel that you can testify on pentothal here be an act of God. Evidently, the Thiopental-allergy theory vigorously asserted
with medical authority? by private respondents was a mere afterthought. Such an explanation was
advanced in order to advanced in order to absolve them of any and all
A: No. That is why I used references to responsibility for the patient's condition.
support my claims. 61
In view of the evidence at hand, we are inclined to believe petitioners' stand
An anesthetic accident caused by a rare drug-induced bronchospasm properly that it was the faulty intubation which was the proximate cause of Erlinda's
falls within the fields of anesthesia, internal medicine-allergy, and clinical comatose condition.
pharmacology. The resulting anoxic encephalopathy belongs to the field of
neurology. While admittedly, many bronchospastic-mediated pulmonary Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in natural and continuous
diseases are within the expertise of pulmonary medicine, Dr. Jamora's field, sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and
the anesthetic drug-induced, allergic mediated bronchospasm alleged in this without which the result would not have occurred. 64 An injury or damage is
case is within the disciplines of anesthesiology, allergology and pharmacology. proximately caused by an act or a failure to act, whenever it appears from the
On the basis of the foregoing transcript, in which the pulmonologist himself evidence in the case, that the act or omission played a substantial part in
admitted that he could not testify about the drug with medical authority, it is bringing about or actually causing the injury or damage; and that the injury or
clear that the appellate court erred in giving weight to Dr. Jamora's testimony damage was either a direct result or a reasonably probable consequence of
as an expert in the administration of Thiopental Sodium. the act or omission. 65 It is the dominant, moving or producing cause.

The provision in the rules of evidence 62 regarding expert witnesses states: Applying the above definition in relation to the evidence at hand, faulty
intubation is undeniably the proximate cause which triggered the chain of
events leading to Erlinda's brain damage and, ultimately, her comatosed
Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witness. — The opinion of a
witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill,
experience or training which he is shown to possess, may be
received in evidence. Private respondents themselves admitted in their testimony that the first
intubation was a failure. This fact was likewise observed by witness Cruz when
she heard respondent Dra. Gutierrez remarked, "Ang hirap ma-intubate nito,
Generally, to qualify as an expert witness, one must have acquired special
mali yata ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan." Thereafter, witness Cruz
knowledge of the subject matter about which he or she is to testify, either by
the study of recognized authorities on the subject or by practical noticed abdominal distention on the body of Erlinda. The development of
abdominal distention, together with respiratory embarrassment indicates that
experience. 63Clearly, Dr. Jamora does not qualify as an expert witness based
the endotracheal tube entered the esophagus instead of the respiratory tree.
on the above standard since he lacks the necessary knowledge, skill, and
training in the field of anesthesiology. Oddly, apart from submitting testimony In other words, instead of the intended endotracheal intubation what actually
from a specialist in the wrong field, private respondents' intentionally avoided took place was an esophageal intubation. During intubation, such distention
providing testimony by competent and independent experts in the proper indicates that air has entered the gastrointestinal tract through the esophagus
areas. instead of the lungs through the trachea. Entry into the esophagus would
certainly cause some delay in oxygen delivery into the lungs as the tube which
carries oxygen is in the wrong place. That abdominal distention had been
Moreover, private respondents' theory, that Thiopental Sodium may have observed during the first intubation suggests that the length of time utilized in
produced Erlinda's coma by triggering an allergic mediated response, has no
inserting the endotracheal tube (up to the time the tube was withdrawn for the Furthermore, it does not escape us that respondent Dr. Hosaka had scheduled
second attempt) was fairly significant. Due to the delay in the delivery of another procedure in a different hospital at the same time as Erlinda's
oxygen in her lungs Erlinda showed signs of cyanosis. 66 As stated in the cholecystectomy, and was in fact over three hours late for the latter's
testimony of Dr. Hosaka, the lack of oxygen became apparent only after he operation. Because of this, he had little or no time to confer with his
noticed that the nailbeds of Erlinda were already blue. 67 However, private anesthesiologist regarding the anesthesia delivery. This indicates that he was
respondents contend that a second intubation was executed on Erlinda and remiss in his professional duties towards his patient. Thus, he shares equal
this one was successfully done. We do not think so. No evidence exists on responsibility for the events which resulted in Erlinda's condition.
record, beyond private respondents' bare claims, which supports the
contention that the second intubation was successful. Assuming that the We now discuss the responsibility of the hospital in this particular incident. The
endotracheal tube finally found its way into the proper orifice of the trachea, unique practice (among private hospitals) of filling up specialist staff with
the same gave no guarantee of oxygen delivery, the hallmark of a successful attending and visiting "consultants," 74 who are allegedly not hospital
intubation. In fact, cyanosis was again observed immediately after the second employees, presents problems in apportioning responsibility for negligence in
intubation. Proceeding from this event (cyanosis), it could not be claimed, as medical malpractice cases. However, the difficulty is only more apparent than
private respondents insist, that the second intubation was accomplished. Even real.
granting that the tube was successfully inserted during the second attempt, it
was obviously too late. As aptly explained by the trial court, Erlinda already In the first place, hospitals exercise significant control in the hiring and firing of
suffered brain damage as a result of the inadequate oxygenation of her brain consultants and in the conduct of their work within the hospital premises.
for about four to five minutes. 68 Doctors who apply for "consultant" slots, visiting or attending, are required to
submit proof of completion of residency, their educational qualifications;
The above conclusion is not without basis. Scientific studies point out that generally, evidence of accreditation by the appropriate board (diplomate),
intubation problems are responsible for one-third (1/3) of deaths and serious evidence of fellowship in most cases, and references. These requirements are
injuries associated with anesthesia. 69 Nevertheless, ninety-eight percent carefully scrutinized by members of the hospital administration or by a review
(98%) or the vast majority of difficult intubations may be anticipated by committee set up by the hospital who either accept or reject the
performing a thorough evaluation of the patient's airway prior to the application. 75 This is particularly true with respondent hospital.
operation. 70 As stated beforehand, respondent Dra. Gutierrez failed to
observe the proper pre-operative protocol which could have prevented this
After a physician is accepted, either as a visiting or attending consultant, he is
unfortunate incident. Had appropriate diligence and reasonable care been
normally required to attend clinico-pathological conferences, conduct bedside
used in the pre-operative evaluation, respondent physician could have been rounds for clerks, interns and residents, moderate grand rounds and patient
much more prepared to meet the contingency brought about by the perceived audits and perform other tasks and responsibilities, for the privilege of being
anatomic variations in the patient's neck and oral area, defects which would
able to maintain a clinic in the hospital, and/or for the privilege of admitting
have been easily overcome by a prior knowledge of those variations together
patients into the hospital. In addition to these, the physician's performance as
with a change in technique. 71 In other words, an experienced a specialist is generally evaluated by a peer review committee on the basis of
anesthesiologist, adequately alerted by a thorough pre-operative evaluation, mortality and morbidity statistics, and feedback from patients, nurses, interns
would have had little difficulty going around the short neck and protruding and residents. A consultant remiss in his duties, or a consultant who regularly
teeth. 72 Having failed to observe common medical standards in pre-operative
falls short of the minimum standards acceptable to the hospital or its peer
management and intubation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez' negligence resulted
review committee, is normally politely terminated.
in cerebral anoxia and eventual coma of Erlinda.
In other words, private hospitals, hire, fire and exercise real control over their
We now determine the responsibility of respondent Dr. Orlino Hosaka as the attending and visiting "consultant" staff. While "consultants" are not,
head of the surgical team. As the so-called "captain of the ship," 73 it is the
technically employees, a point which respondent hospital asserts in denying
surgeon's responsibility to see to it that those under him perform their task in all responsibility for the patient's condition, the control exercised, the hiring,
the proper manner. Respondent Dr. Hosaka's negligence can be found in his and the right to terminate consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an
failure to exercise the proper authority (as the "captain" of the operative team)
employer-employee relationship, with the exception of the payment of wages.
in not determining if his anesthesiologist observed proper anesthesia
In assessing whether such a relationship in fact exists, the control test is
protocols. In fact, no evidence on record exists to show that respondent Dr. determining. Accordingly, on the basis of the foregoing, we rule that for the
Hosaka verified if respondent Dra. Gutierrez properly intubated the patient.
purpose of allocating responsibility in medical negligence cases, an employer-
employee relationship in effect exists between hospitals and their attending petitioners after they were forced to bring home the patient to avoid mounting
and visiting physicians. This being the case, the question now arises as to hospital bills.
whether or not respondent hospital is solidarily liable with respondent doctors
for petitioner's condition. 76 And yet ideally, a comatose patient should remain in a hospital or be
transferred to a hospice specializing in the care of the chronically ill for the
The basis for holding an employer solidarily responsible for the negligence of purpose of providing a proper milieu adequate to meet minimum standards of
its employee is found in Article 2180 of the Civil Code which considers a care. In the instant case for instance, Erlinda has to be constantly turned from
person accountable not only for his own acts but also for those of others based side to side to prevent bedsores and hypostatic pneumonia. Feeding is done
on the former's responsibility under a relationship of patria potestas. 77 Such by nasogastric tube. Food preparation should be normally made by a dietitian
responsibility ceases when the persons or entity concerned prove that they to provide her with the correct daily caloric requirements and vitamin
have observed the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent supplements. Furthermore, she has to be seen on a regular basis by a physical
damage. 78 In other words, while the burden of proving negligence rests on the therapist to avoid muscle atrophy, and by a pulmonary therapist to prevent the
plaintiffs, once negligence is shown, the burden shifts to the respondents accumulation of secretions which can lead to respiratory complications.
(parent, guardian, teacher or employer) who should prove that they observed
the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. Given these considerations, the amount of actual damages recoverable in
suits arising from negligence should at least reflect the correct minimum cost
In the instant case, respondent hospital, apart from a general denial of its of proper care, not the cost of the care the family is usually compelled to
responsibility over respondent physicians, failed to adduce evidence showing undertake at home to avoid bankruptcy. However, the provisions of the Civil
that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the hiring and Code on actual or compensatory damages present us with some difficulties.
supervision of the latter. It failed to adduce evidence with regard to the degree
of supervision which it exercised over its physicians. In neglecting to offer such Well-settled is the rule that actual damages which may be claimed by the
proof, or proof of a similar nature, respondent hospital thereby failed to plaintiff are those suffered by him as he has duly proved. The Civil Code
discharge its burden under the last paragraph of Article 2180. Having failed to provides:
do this, respondent hospital is consequently solidarily responsible with its
physicians for Erlinda's condition. Art. 2199. — Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one
is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such
Based on the foregoing, we hold that the Court of Appeals erred in accepting pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such
and relying on the testimonies of the witnesses for the private respondents. compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory
Indeed, as shown by the above discussions, private respondents were unable damages.
to rebut the presumption of negligence. Upon these disquisitions we hold that
private respondents are solidarily liable for damages under Article 2176 79 of Our rules on actual or compensatory damages generally assume that at the
the Civil Code. time of litigation, the injury suffered as a consequence of an act of negligence
has been completed and that the cost can be liquidated. However, these
We now come to the amount of damages due petitioners. The trial court provisions neglect to take into account those situations, as in this case, where
awarded a total of P632,000.00 pesos (should be P616,000.00) in the resulting injury might be continuing and possible future complications
compensatory damages to the plaintiff, "subject to its being updated" covering directly arising from the injury, while certain to occur, are difficult to predict.
the period from 15 November 1985 up to 15 April 1992, based on monthly
expenses for the care of the patient estimated at P8,000.00.
In these cases, the amount of damages which should be awarded, if they are
to adequately and correctly respond to the injury caused, should be one which
At current levels, the P8000/monthly amount established by the trial court at compensates for pecuniary loss incurred and proved, up to the time of
the time of its decision would be grossly inadequate to cover the actual costs trial; and one which would meet pecuniary loss certain to be suffered but which
of home-based care for a comatose individual. The calculated amount was not could not, from the nature of the case, be made with certainty. 80 In other
even arrived at by looking at the actual cost of proper hospice care for the words, temperate damages can and should be awarded on top of actual or
patient. What it reflected were the actual expenses incurred and proved by the compensatory damages in instances where the injury is chronic and
continuing. And because of the unique nature of such cases, no incompatibility
arises when both actual and temperate damages are provided for. The reason limb effected by the biological changes of middle-age,
is that these damages cover two distinct phases. menopause and aging. Assuming she reaches menopause,
for example, the prosthetic will have to be adjusted to respond
As it would not be equitable — and certainly not in the best interests of the to the changes in bone resulting from a precipitate decrease
administration of justice — for the victim in such cases to constantly come in calcium levels observed in the bones of all post-
before the courts and invoke their aid in seeking adjustments to the menopausal women. In other words, the damage done to her
compensatory damages previously awarded — temperate damages are would not only be permanent and lasting, it would also be
appropriate. The amount given as temperate damages, though to a certain permanently changing and adjusting to the physiologic
extent speculative, should take into account the cost of proper care. changes which her body would normally undergo through the
years. The replacements, changes, and adjustments will
require corresponding adjustive physical and occupational
In the instant case, petitioners were able to provide only home-based nursing
care for a comatose patient who has remained in that condition for over a therapy. All of these adjustments, it has been documented,
decade. Having premised our award for compensatory damages on the are painful.
amount provided by petitioners at the onset of litigation, it would be now much
more in step with the interests of justice if the value awarded for temperate xxx xxx xxx
damages would allow petitioners to provide optimal care for their loved one in
a facility which generally specializes in such care. They should not be A prosthetic devise, however technologically advanced, will
compelled by dire circumstances to provide substandard care at home without only allow a reasonable amount of functional restoration of the
the aid of professionals, for anything less would be grossly inadequate. Under motor functions of the lower limb. The sensory functions are
the circumstances, an award of P1,500,000.00 in temperate damages would forever lost. The resultant anxiety, sleeplessness,
therefore be reasonable. 81 psychological injury, mental and physical pain are
inestimable. 83
In Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 82 this Court was confronted with a
situation where the injury suffered by the plaintiff would have led to expenses The injury suffered by Erlinda as a consequence of private respondents'
which were difficult to estimate because while they would have been a direct negligence is certainly much more serious than the amputation in the
result of the injury (amputation), and were certain to be incurred by the plaintiff, Valenzuela case.
they were likely to arise only in the future. We awarded P1,000,000.00 in moral
damages in that case. Petitioner Erlinda Ramos was in her mid-forties when the incident occurred.
She has been in a comatose state for over fourteen years now. The burden of
Describing the nature of the injury, the Court therein stated: care has so far been heroically shouldered by her husband and children, who,
in the intervening years have been deprived of the love of a wife and a mother.
As a result of the accident, Ma. Lourdes Valenzuela
underwent a traumatic amputation of her left lower extremity Meanwhile, the actual physical, emotional and financial cost of the care of
at the distal left thigh just above the knee. Because of this, petitioner would be virtually impossible to quantify. Even the temperate
Valenzuela will forever be deprived of the full ambulatory damages herein awarded would be inadequate if petitioner's condition remains
functions of her left extremity, even with the use of state of the unchanged for the next ten years.
art prosthetic technology. Well beyond the period of
hospitalization (which was paid for by Li), she will be required We recognized, in Valenzuela that a discussion of the victim's actual injury
to undergo adjustments in her prosthetic devise due to the would not even scratch the surface of the resulting moral damage because it
shrinkage of the stump from the process of healing. would be highly speculative to estimate the amount of emotional and moral
pain, psychological damage and injury suffered by the victim or those actually
These adjustments entail costs, prosthetic replacements and affected by the victim's condition. 84 The husband and the children, all
months of physical and occupational rehabilitation and petitioners in this case, will have to live with the day to day uncertainty of the
therapy. During the lifetime, the prosthetic devise will have to patient's illness, knowing any hope of recovery is close to nil. They have
be replaced and readjusted to changes in the size of her lower fashioned their daily lives around the nursing care of petitioner, altering their
long term goals to take into account their life with a comatose patient. They,
not the respondents, are charged with the moral responsibility of the care of
the victim. The family's moral injury and suffering in this case is clearly a real
one. For the foregoing reasons, an award of P2,000,000.00 in moral damages
would be appropriate.

Finally, by way of example, exemplary damages in the amount of P100,000.00

are hereby awarded. Considering the length and nature of the instant suit we
are of the opinion that attorney's fees valued at P100,000.00 are likewise

Our courts face unique difficulty in adjudicating medical negligence cases

because physicians are not insurers of life and, they rarely set out to
intentionally cause injury or death to their patients. However, intent is
immaterial in negligence cases because where negligence exists and is
proven, the same automatically gives the injured a right to reparation for the
damage caused.

Established medical procedures and practices, though in constant flux are

devised for the purpose of preventing complications. A physician's experience
with his patients would sometimes tempt him to deviate from established
community practices, and he may end a distinguished career using unorthodox
methods without incident. However, when failure to follow established
procedure results in the evil precisely sought to be averted by observance of
the procedure and a nexus is made between the deviation and the injury or
damage, the physician would necessarily be called to account for it. In the case
at bar, the failure to observe pre-operative assessment protocol which would
have influenced the intubation in a salutary way was fatal to private
respondents' case.

WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of the appellate court appealed

from are hereby modified so as to award in favor of petitioners, and solidarily
against private respondents the following: 1) P1,352,000.00 as actual
damages computed as of the date of promulgation of this decision plus a
monthly payment of P8,000.00 up to the time that petitioner Erlinda Ramos
expires or miraculously survives; 2) P2,000,000.00 as moral damages, 3)
P1,500,000.00 as temperate damages; 4) P100,000.00 each as exemplary
damages and attorney's fees; and, 5) the costs of the suit.

12. Africa v. Caltex (GR No. L-12986) Investigation disclosed that at about 4:00 P.M. March 18,
1948, while Leandro Flores was transferring gasoline from a
tank truck, plate No. T-5292 into the underground tank of the
Caltex Gasoline Station located at the corner of Rizal Avenue
G.R. No. L-12986 March 31, 1966 and Antipolo Street, this City, an unknown Filipino lighted a
cigarette and threw the burning match stick near the main
THE SPOUSES BERNABE AFRICA and SOLEDAD C. AFRICA, and the valve of the said underground tank. Due to the gasoline
fumes, fire suddenly blazed. Quick action of Leandro Flores
HEIRS OF DOMINGA ONG, petitioners-appellants,
vs. in pulling off the gasoline hose connecting the truck with the
CALTEX (PHIL.), INC., MATEO BOQUIREN and THE COURT OF underground tank prevented a terrific explosion. However, the
flames scattered due to the hose from which the gasoline was
APPEALS, respondents-appellees.
spouting. It burned the truck and the following accessorias
and residences.
Ross, Selph, Carrascoso and Janda for the respondents.
Bernabe Africa, etc. for the petitioners.
2. The Fire Department report: —
In connection with their allegation that the premises was (sic)
subleased for the installation of a coca-cola and cigarette stand, the
This case is before us on a petition for review of the decision of the Court of complainants furnished this Office a copy of a photograph taken
Appeals, which affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissing during the fire and which is submitted herewith. it appears in this
petitioners' second amended complaint against respondents. picture that there are in the premises a coca-cola cooler and a rack
which according to information gathered in the neighborhood
The action is for damages under Articles 1902 and 1903 of the old Civil Code. contained cigarettes and matches, installed between the gasoline
It appears that in the afternoon of March 18, 1948 a fire broke out at the Caltex pumps and the underground tanks.
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 The report of Captain Tinio reproduced information given by a certain Benito
storage, right at the opening of the receiving tank where the nozzle of the hose Morales regarding the history of the gasoline station and what the chief of the
was inserted. The fire spread to and burned several neighboring houses, fire department had told him on the same subject.
including the personal properties and effects inside them. Their owners,
among them petitioners here, sued respondents Caltex (Phil.), Inc. and Mateo
The foregoing reports were ruled out as "double hearsay" by the Court of
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 Appeals and hence inadmissible. This ruling is now assigned as error. It is
as the cause of the fire. contended: first, that said reports were admitted by the trial court without
objection on the part of respondents; secondly, that with respect to the police
report (Exhibit V-Africa) which appears signed by a Detective Zapanta
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioners failed to prove allegedly "for Salvador Capacillo," the latter was presented as witness but
negligence and that respondents had exercised due care in the premises and respondents waived their right to cross-examine him although they had the
with respect to the supervision of their employees. opportunity to do so; and thirdly, that in any event the said reports are
admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule under section 35 of Rule 123,
The first question before Us refers to the admissibility of certain reports on the now Rule 130.
fire prepared by the Manila Police and Fire Departments and by a certain
Captain Tinio of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Portions of the first two The first contention is not borne out by the record. The transcript of the hearing
reports are as follows: of September 17, 1953 (pp. 167-170) shows that the reports in question, when
offered as evidence, were objected to by counsel for each of respondents on
1. Police Department report: — the ground that they were hearsay and that they were "irrelevant, immaterial
and impertinent." Indeed, in the court's resolution only Exhibits J, K, K-5 and
X-6 were admitted without objection; the admission of the others, including the The reports in question do not constitute an exception to the hearsay rule; the
disputed ones, carried no such explanation. facts stated therein were not acquired by the reporting officers through official
information, not having been given by the informants pursuant to any duty to
On the second point, although Detective Capacillo did take the witness stand, do so.
he was not examined and he did not testify as to the facts mentioned in his
alleged report (signed by Detective Zapanta). All he said was that he was one The next question is whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin
of those who investigated "the location of the fire and, if possible, gather of the fire, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to presume
witnesses as to the occurrence, and that he brought the report with him. There negligence on the part of appellees. Both the trial court and the appellate court
was nothing, therefore, on which he need be cross-examined; and the refused to apply the doctrine in the instant case on the grounds that "as to (its)
contents of the report, as to which he did not testify, did not thereby become applicability ... in the Philippines, there seems to he nothing definite," and that
competent evidence. And even if he had testified, his testimony would still have while the rules do not prohibit its adoption in appropriate cases, "in the case at
been objectionable as far as information gathered by him from third persons bar, however, we find no practical use for such doctrine." The question
was concerned. deserves more than such summary dismissal. The doctrine has actually been
applied in this jurisdiction, in the case of Espiritu vs. Philippine Power and
Petitioners maintain, however, that the reports in themselves, that is, without Development Co. (CA-G.R. No. 3240-R, September 20, 1949), wherein the
further testimonial evidence on their contents, fall within the scope of section decision of the Court of Appeals was penned by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes now
35, Rule 123, which provides that "entries in official records made in the a member of the Supreme Court.
performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence The facts of that case are stated in the decision as follows:
of the facts therein stated."
In the afternoon of May 5, 1946, while the plaintiff-appellee and other
There are three requisites for admissibility under the rule just mentioned: (a) companions were loading grass between the municipalities of Bay and
that the entry was made by a public officer, or by another person specially Calauan, in the province of Laguna, with clear weather and without
enjoined by law to do so; (b) that it was made by the public officer in the any wind blowing, an electric transmission wire, installed and
performance of his duties, or by such other person in the performance of a maintained by the defendant Philippine Power and Development Co.,
duty specially enjoined by law; and (c) that the public officer or other person Inc. alongside the road, suddenly parted, and one of the broken ends
had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have been hit the head of the plaintiff as he was about to board the truck. As a
acquired by him personally or through official information (Moran, Comments result, plaintiff received the full shock of 4,400 volts carried by the wire
on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1957] p. 398). and was knocked unconscious to the ground. The electric charge
coursed through his body and caused extensive and serious multiple
Of the three requisites just stated, only the last need be considered here. burns from skull to legs, leaving the bone exposed in some parts and
Obviously the material facts recited in the reports as to the cause and causing intense pain and wounds that were not completely healed
circumstances of the fire were not within the personal knowledge of the officers when the case was tried on June 18, 1947, over one year after the
who conducted the investigation. Was knowledge of such facts, however, mishap.
acquired by them through official information? As to some facts the sources
thereof are not even identified. Others are attributed to Leopoldo Medina, The defendant therein disclaimed liability on the ground that the plaintiff had
referred to as an employee at the gas station were the fire occurred; to Leandro failed to show any specific act of negligence, but the appellate court overruled
Flores, driver of the tank truck from which gasoline was being transferred at the defense under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The court said:
the time to the underground tank of the station; and to respondent Mateo
Boquiren, who could not, according to Exhibit V-Africa, give any reason as to The first point is directed against the sufficiency of plaintiff's evidence
the origin of the fire. To qualify their statements as "official information" to place appellant on its defense. While it is the rule, as contended by
acquired by the officers who prepared the reports, the persons who made the the appellant, that in case of noncontractual negligence, or culpa
statements not only must have personal knowledge of the facts stated but must aquiliana, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish that the
have the duty to give such statements for record.1 proximate cause of his injury was the negligence of the defendant, it
is also a recognized principal that "where the thing which caused
injury, without fault of the injured person, is under the exclusive control the First Circuit reversed this judgment, on the ground the testimony
of the defendant and the injury is such as in the ordinary course of failed to show with reasonable certainty any negligence on the part of
things does not occur if he having such control use proper care, it the Shell Petroleum Corporation or any of its agents or employees.
affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of the explanation, that Plaintiff applied to this Court for a Writ of Review which was granted,
the injury arose from defendant's want of care." and the case is now before us for decision.1äwphï1.ñët

And the burden of evidence is shifted to him to establish that he has In resolving the issue of negligence, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held:
observed due care and diligence. (San Juan Light & Transit Co. v.
Requena, 244, U.S. 89, 56 L. ed. 680.) This rule is known by the name Plaintiff's petition contains two distinct charges of negligence — one
of res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks for itself), and is peculiarly relating to the cause of the fire and the other relating to the spreading
applicable to the case at bar, where it is unquestioned that the plaintiff of the gasoline about the filling station.
had every right to be on the highway, and the electric wire was under
the sole control of defendant company. In the ordinary course of
Other than an expert to assess the damages caused plaintiff's building
events, electric wires do not part suddenly in fair weather and injure by the fire, no witnesses were placed on the stand by the defendant.
people, unless they are subjected to unusual strain and stress or there
are defects in their installation, maintenance and supervision; just as
barrels do not ordinarily roll out of the warehouse windows to injure Taking up plaintiff's charge of negligence relating to the cause of the
passersby, unless some one was negligent. (Byrne v. Boadle, 2 H & fire, we find it established by the record that the filling station and the
Co. 722; 159 Eng. Reprint 299, the leading case that established that tank truck were under the control of the defendant and operated by its
rule). Consequently, in the absence of contributory negligence (which agents or employees. We further find from the uncontradicted
is admittedly not present), the fact that the wire snapped suffices to testimony of plaintiff's witnesses that fire started in the underground
raise a reasonable presumption of negligence in its installation, care tank attached to the filling station while it was being filled from the tank
and maintenance. Thereafter, as observed by Chief Baron Pollock, "if truck and while both the tank and the truck were in charge of and being
there are any facts inconsistent with negligence, it is for the defendant operated by the agents or employees of the defendant, extended to
to prove." the hose and tank truck, and was communicated from the burning
hose, tank truck, and escaping gasoline to the building owned by the
It is true of course that decisions of the Court of Appeals do not lay down
doctrines binding on the Supreme Court, but we do not consider this a reason
for not applying the particular doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the case at bar. Predicated on these circumstances and the further circumstance of
Gasoline is a highly combustible material, in the storage and sale of which defendant's failure to explain the cause of the fire or to show its lack
extreme care must be taken. On the other hand, fire is not considered a of knowledge of the cause, plaintiff has evoked the doctrine of res ipsa
fortuitous event, as it arises almost invariably from some act of man. A case loquitur. There are many cases in which the doctrine may be
strikingly similar to the one before Us is Jones vs. Shell Petroleum Corporation, successfully invoked and this, we think, is one of them.
et al., 171 So. 447:
Where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be
Arthur O. Jones is the owner of a building in the city of Hammon which under the management of defendant or his servants and the accident
in the year 1934 was leased to the Shell Petroleum Corporation for a is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those
gasoline filling station. On October 8, 1934, during the term of the who have its management or control use proper care, it affords
lease, while gasoline was being transferred from the tank wagon, also reasonable evidence, in absence of explanation by defendant, that the
operated by the Shell Petroleum Corporation, to the underground tank accident arose from want of care. (45 C.J. #768, p. 1193).
of the station, a fire started with resulting damages to the building
owned by Jones. Alleging that the damages to his building amounted This statement of the rule of res ipsa loquitur has been widely
to $516.95, Jones sued the Shell Petroleum Corporation for the approved and adopted by the courts of last resort. Some of the cases
recovery of that amount. The judge of the district court, after hearing in this jurisdiction in which the doctrine has been applied are the
the testimony, concluded that plaintiff was entitled to a recovery and following, viz.: Maus v. Broderick, 51 La. Ann. 1153, 25 So. 977;
rendered judgment in his favor for $427.82. The Court of Appeals for Hebert v. Lake Charles Ice, etc., Co., 111 La. 522, 35 So. 731, 64
L.R.A. 101, 100 Am. St. Rep. 505; Willis v. Vicksburg, etc., R. Co., 115 The foregoing report, having been submitted by a police officer in the
La. 63, 38 So. 892; Bents v. Page, 115 La. 560, 39 So. 599. performance of his duties on the basis of his own personal observation of the
facts reported, may properly be considered as an exception to the hearsay
The principle enunciated in the aforequoted case applies with equal force here. rule. These facts, descriptive of the location and objective circumstances
The gasoline station, with all its appliances, equipment and employees, was surrounding the operation of the gasoline station in question, strengthen the
under the control of appellees. A fire occurred therein and spread to and presumption of negligence under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, since on
burned the neighboring houses. The persons who knew or could have known their face they called for more stringent measures of caution than those which
how the fire started were appellees and their employees, but they gave no would satisfy the standard of due diligence under ordinary circumstances.
explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable inference that the There is no more eloquent demonstration of this than the statement of Leandro
incident happened because of want of care. Flores before the police investigator. Flores was the driver of the gasoline tank
wagon who, alone and without assistance, was transferring the contents
In the report submitted by Captain Leoncio Mariano of the Manila Police thereof into the underground storage when the fire broke out. He said: "Before
Department (Exh. X-1 Africa) the following appears: loading the underground tank there were no people, but while the loading was
going on, there were people who went to drink coca-cola (at the coca-cola
stand) which is about a meter from the hole leading to the underground tank."
Investigation of the basic complaint disclosed that the Caltex Gasoline He added that when the tank was almost filled he went to the tank truck to
Station complained of occupies a lot approximately 10 m x 10 m at the close the valve, and while he had his back turned to the "manhole" he, heard
southwest corner of Rizal Avenue and Antipolo. The location is within someone shout "fire."
a very busy business district near the Obrero Market, a railroad
crossing and very thickly populated neighborhood where a great
Even then the fire possibly would not have spread to the neighboring houses
number of people mill around t
were it not for another negligent omission on the part of defendants, namely,
their failure to provide a concrete wall high enough to prevent the flames from
until leaping over it. As it was the concrete wall was only 2-1/2 meters high, and
beyond that height it consisted merely of galvanized iron sheets, which would
gasoline predictably crumple and melt when subjected to intense heat. Defendants'
negligence, therefore, was not only with respect to the cause of the fire but
tever be theWactjvities of these peopleor lighting a cigarette cannot also with respect to the spread thereof to the neighboring houses.
be excluded and this constitute a secondary hazard to its operation
which in turn endangers the entire neighborhood to conflagration. There is an admission on the part of Boquiren in his amended answer to the
second amended complaint that "the fire was caused through the acts of a
Furthermore, aside from precautions already taken by its operator the stranger who, without authority, or permission of answering defendant, passed
concrete walls south and west adjoining the neighborhood are only 2- through the gasoline station and negligently threw a lighted match in the
1/2 meters high at most and cannot avoid the flames from leaping over premises." No evidence on this point was adduced, but assuming the
it in case of fire. allegation to be true — certainly any unfavorable inference from the admission
may be taken against Boquiren — it does not extenuate his negligence. A
Records show that there have been two cases of fire which caused decision of the Supreme Court of Texas, upon facts analogous to those of the
not only material damages but desperation and also panic in the present case, states the rule which we find acceptable here. "It is the rule that
neighborhood. those who distribute a dangerous article or agent, owe a degree of protection
to the public proportionate to and commensurate with a danger involved ... we
think it is the generally accepted rule as applied to torts that 'if the effects of
Although the soft drinks stand had been eliminated, this gasoline
the actor's negligent conduct actively and continuously operate to bring about
service station is also used by its operator as a garage and repair shop
harm to another, the fact that the active and substantially simultaneous
for his fleet of taxicabs numbering ten or more, adding another risk to
operation of the effects of a third person's innocent, tortious or criminal act is
the possible outbreak of fire at this already small but crowded gasoline
also a substantial factor in bringing about the harm, does not protect the actor
from liability.' (Restatement of the Law of Torts, vol. 2, p. 1184, #439). Stated
in another way, "The intention of an unforeseen and unexpected cause, is not
sufficient to relieve a wrongdoer from consequences of negligence, if such understood and agreed that LICENSEE (Boquiren) is not an employee,
negligence directly and proximately cooperates with the independent cause in representative or agent of LICENSOR (Caltex)."
the resulting injury." (MacAfee, et al. vs. Traver's Gas Corporation, 153 S.W.
2nd 442.) But even if the license agreement were to govern, Boquiren can hardly be
considered an independent contractor. Under that agreement Boquiren would
The next issue is whether Caltex should be held liable for the damages caused pay Caltex the purely nominal sum of P1.00 for the use of the premises and
to appellants. This issue depends on whether Boquiren was an independent all the equipment therein. He could sell only Caltex Products. Maintenance of
contractor, as held by the Court of Appeals, or an agent of Caltex. This the station and its equipment was subject to the approval, in other words
question, in the light of the facts not controverted, is one of law and hence may control, of Caltex. Boquiren could not assign or transfer his rights as licensee
be passed upon by this Court. These facts are: (1) Boquiren made an without the consent of Caltex. The license agreement was supposed to be
admission that he was an agent of Caltex; (2) at the time of the fire Caltex from January 1, 1948 to December 31, 1948, and thereafter until terminated
owned the gasoline station and all the equipment therein; (3) Caltex exercised by Caltex upon two days prior written notice. Caltex could at any time cancel
control over Boquiren in the management of the state; (4) the delivery truck and terminate the agreement in case Boquiren ceased to sell Caltex products,
used in delivering gasoline to the station had the name of CALTEX painted on or did not conduct the business with due diligence, in the judgment of Caltex.
it; and (5) the license to store gasoline at the station was in the name of Caltex, Termination of the contract was therefore a right granted only to Caltex but not
which paid the license fees. (Exhibit T-Africa; Exhibit U-Africa; Exhibit X-5 to Boquiren. These provisions of the contract show the extent of the control of
Africa; Exhibit X-6 Africa; Exhibit Y-Africa). Caltex over Boquiren. The control was such that the latter was virtually an
employee of the former.
In Boquiren's amended answer to the second amended complaint, he denied
that he directed one of his drivers to remove gasoline from the truck into the Taking into consideration the fact that the operator owed his position
tank and alleged that the "alleged driver, if one there was, was not in his to the company and the latter could remove him or terminate his
employ, the driver being an employee of the Caltex (Phil.) Inc. and/or the services at will; that the service station belonged to the company and
owners of the gasoline station." It is true that Boquiren later on amended his bore its tradename and the operator sold only the products of the
answer, and that among the changes was one to the effect that he was not company; that the equipment used by the operator belonged to the
acting as agent of Caltex. But then again, in his motion to dismiss appellants' company and were just loaned to the operator and the company took
second amended complaint the ground alleged was that it stated no cause of charge of their repair and maintenance; that an employee of the
action since under the allegations thereof he was merely acting as agent of company supervised the operator and conducted periodic inspection
Caltex, such that he could not have incurred personal liability. A motion to of the company's gasoline and service station; that the price of the
dismiss on this ground is deemed to be an admission of the facts alleged in products sold by the operator was fixed by the company and not by
the complaint. 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
Caltex admits that it owned the gasoline station as well as the equipment operator was an agent of the company and not an independent
therein, but claims that the business conducted at the service station in contractor should not be disturbed.
question was owned and operated by Boquiren. But Caltex did not present any
contract with Boquiren that would reveal the nature of their relationship at the To determine the nature of a contract courts do not have or are not
time of the fire. There must have been one in existence at that time. Instead, bound to rely upon the name or title given it by the contracting parties,
what was presented was a license agreement manifestly tailored for purposes should thereby a controversy as to what they really had intended to
of this case, since it was entered into shortly before the expiration of the one- enter into, but the way the contracting parties do or perform their
year period it was intended to operate. This so-called license agreement respective obligations stipulated or agreed upon may be shown and
(Exhibit 5-Caltex) was executed on November 29, 1948, but made effective as inquired into, and should such performance conflict with the name or
of January 1, 1948 so as to cover the date of the fire, namely, March 18, 1948. title given the contract by the parties, the former must prevail over the
This retroactivity provision is quite significant, and gives rise to the conclusion latter. (Shell Company of the Philippines, Ltd. vs. Firemens' Insurance
that it was designed precisely to free Caltex from any responsibility with Company of Newark, New Jersey, 100 Phil. 757).
respect to the fire, as shown by the clause that Caltex "shall not be liable for
any injury to person or property while in the property herein licensed, it being 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).

Caltex further argues that the gasoline stored in the station belonged to
Boquiren. But no cash invoices were presented to show that Boquiren had
bought said gasoline from Caltex. Neither was there a sales contract to prove
the same.

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. With respect to the claim of the heirs of Ong P7,500.00 was adjudged
by the lower court on the basis of the assessed value of the property
destroyed, namely, P1,500.00, disregarding the testimony of one of the Ong
children that said property was worth P4,000.00. We agree that the court erred,
since it is of common knowledge that the assessment for taxation purposes is
not an accurate gauge of fair market value, and in this case should not prevail
over positive evidence of such value. The heirs of Ong are therefore entitled
to P10,000.00.

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed and respondents-appellees

are held liable solidarily to appellants, and ordered to pay them the aforesaid
sum of P9,005.80 and P10,000.00, respectively, with interest from the filing of
the complaint, and costs.
13. Republic v. Luzon Stevedoring (GR No. L-21749) Defendant appealed directly to this Court assigning the following errors
allegedly committed by the court a quo, to wit:

I — The lower court erred in not holding that the herein defendant-
G.R. No. L-21749 September 29, 1967 appellant had exercised the diligence required of it in the selection and
supervision of its personnel to prevent damage or injury to
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, others.1awphîl.nèt
LUZON STEVEDORING CORPORATION, defendant-appellant. II — The lower court erred in not holding that the ramming of the
Nagtahan bailey bridge by barge L-1892 was caused by force
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. majeure.
H. San Luis and L.V. Simbulan for defendant-appellant.
III — The lower court erred in not holding that the Nagtahan bailey
bridge is an obstruction, if not a menace, to navigation in the Pasig

IV — The lower court erred in not blaming the damage sustained by

REYES, J.B.L., J.: the Nagtahan bailey bridge to the improper placement of the dolphins.

The present case comes by direct appeal from a decision of the Court of First V — The lower court erred in granting plaintiff's motion to adduce
Instance of Manila (Case No. 44572) adjudging the defendant-appellant, further evidence in chief after it has rested its case.
Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, liable in damages to the plaintiff-appellee
Republic of the Philippines. VI — The lower court erred in finding the plaintiff entitled to the amount
of P192,561.72 for damages which is clearly exorbitant and without
In the early afternoon of August 17, 1960, barge L-1892, owned by the Luzon any factual basis.
Stevedoring Corporation was being towed down the Pasig river by tugboats
"Bangus" and "Barbero"1 also belonging to the same corporation, when the However, it must be recalled that the established rule in this jurisdiction is that
barge rammed against one of the wooden piles of the Nagtahan bailey bridge, when a party appeals directly to the Supreme Court, and submits his case
smashing the posts and causing the bridge to list. The river, at the time, was there for decision, he is deemed to have waived the right to dispute any finding
swollen and the current swift, on account of the heavy downpour of Manila and of fact made by the trial Court. The only questions that may be raised are those
the surrounding provinces on August 15 and 16, 1960. of law (Savellano vs. Diaz, L-17441, July 31, 1963; Aballe vs. Santiago, L-
16307, April 30, 1963; G.S.I.S. vs. Cloribel, L-22236, June 22, 1965). A
Sued by the Republic of the Philippines for actual and consequential damage converso, a party who resorts to the Court of Appeals, and submits his case
caused by its employees, amounting to P200,000 (Civil Case No. 44562, CFI for decision there, is barred from contending later that his claim was beyond
of Manila), defendant Luzon Stevedoring Corporation disclaimed liability the jurisdiction of the aforesaid Court. The reason is that a contrary rule would
therefor, on the grounds that it had exercised due diligence in the selection encourage the undesirable practice of appellants' submitting their cases for
and supervision of its employees; that the damages to the bridge were caused decision to either court in expectation of favorable judgment, but with intent of
by force majeure; that plaintiff has no capacity to sue; and that the Nagtahan attacking its jurisdiction should the decision be unfavorable (Tyson Tan, et al.
bailey bridge is an obstruction to navigation. vs. Filipinas Compañia de Seguros) et al., L-10096, Res. on Motion to
Reconsider, March 23, 1966). Consequently, we are limited in this appeal to
After due trial, the court rendered judgment on June 11, 1963, holding the the issues of law raised in the appellant's brief.
defendant liable for the damage caused by its employees and ordering it to
pay to plaintiff the actual cost of the repair of the Nagtahan bailey bridge which Taking the aforesaid rules into account, it can be seen that the only reviewable
amounted to P192,561.72, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing issues in this appeal are reduced to two:
of the complaint.
1) Whether or not the collision of appellant's barge with the supports Otherwise stated, the appellant, Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, knowing and
or piers of the Nagtahan bridge was in law caused by fortuitous event appreciating the perils posed by the swollen stream and its swift current,
or force majeure, and voluntarily entered into a situation involving obvious danger; it therefore
assured the risk, and can not shed responsibility merely because the
2) Whether or not it was error for the Court to have permitted the precautions it adopted turned out to be insufficient. Hence, the lower Court
plaintiff-appellee to introduce additional evidence of damages after committed no error in holding it negligent in not suspending operations and in
said party had rested its case. holding it liable for the damages caused.

As to the first question, considering that the Nagtahan bridge was an It avails the appellant naught to argue that the dolphins, like the bridge, were
immovable and stationary object and uncontrovertedly provided with adequate improperly located. Even if true, these circumstances would merely emphasize
openings for the passage of water craft, including barges like of appellant's, it the need of even higher degree of care on appellant's part in the situation
is undeniable that the unusual event that the barge, exclusively controlled by involved in the present case. The appellant, whose barges and tugs travel up
appellant, rammed the bridge supports raises a presumption of negligence on and down the river everyday, could not safely ignore the danger posed by
the part of appellant or its employees manning the barge or the tugs that towed these allegedly improper constructions that had been erected, and in place,
it. For in the ordinary course of events, such a thing does not happen if proper for years.
care is used. In Anglo American Jurisprudence, the inference arises by what
is known as the "res ipsa loquitur" rule (Scott vs. London Docks Co., 2 H & C On the second point: appellant charges the lower court with having abused its
596; San Juan Light & Transit Co. vs. Requena, 224 U.S. 89, 56 L. Ed., 680; discretion in the admission of plaintiff's additional evidence after the latter had
Whitwell vs. Wolf, 127 Minn. 529, 149 N.W. 299; Bryne vs. Great Atlantic & rested its case. There is an insinuation that the delay was deliberate to enable
Pacific Tea Co., 269 Mass. 130; 168 N.E. 540; Gribsby vs. Smith, 146 S.W. the manipulation of evidence to prejudice defendant-appellant.
2d 719).
We find no merit in the contention. Whether or not further evidence will be
The appellant strongly stresses the precautions taken by it on the day in allowed after a party offering the evidence has rested his case, lies within the
question: that it assigned two of its most powerful tugboats to tow down river sound discretion of the trial Judge, and this discretion will not be reviewed
its barge L-1892; that it assigned to the task the more competent and except in clear case of abuse.3
experienced among its patrons, had the towlines, engines and equipment
double-checked and inspected; that it instructed its patrons to take extra In the present case, no abuse of that discretion is shown. What was allowed
precautions; and concludes that it had done all it was called to do, and that the to be introduced, after plaintiff had rested its evidence in chief, were vouchers
accident, therefore, should be held due to force majeure or fortuitous event. and papers to support an item of P1,558.00 allegedly spent for the
reinforcement of the panel of the bailey bridge, and which item already
These very precautions, however, completely destroy the appellant's defense. appeared in Exhibit GG. Appellant, in fact, has no reason to charge the trial
For caso fortuito or force majeure(which in law are identical in so far as they court of being unfair, because it was also able to secure, upon written motion,
exempt an obligor from liability)2 by definition, are extraordinary events not a similar order dated November 24, 1962, allowing reception of additional
foreseeable or avoidable, "events that could not be foreseen, or which, though evidence for the said defendant-appellant.4
foreseen, were inevitable" (Art. 1174, Civ. Code of the Philippines). It is,
therefore, not enough that the event should not have been foreseen or WHEREFORE, finding no error in the decision of the lower Court appealed
anticipated, as is commonly believed, but it must be one impossible to foresee from, the same is hereby affirmed. Costs against the defendant-appellant.
or to avoid. The mere difficulty to foresee the happening is not impossibility to
foresee the same: "un hecho no constituye caso fortuito por la sola
circunstancia de que su existencia haga mas dificil o mas onerosa la accion
diligente del presento ofensor" (Peirano Facio, Responsibilidad Extra-
contractual, p. 465; Mazeaud Trait de la Responsibilite Civil, Vol. 2, sec. 1569).
The very measures adopted by appellant prove that the possibility of danger
was not only foreseeable, but actually foreseen, and was not caso fortuito.
14. Batiquin v. CA 258 SCRA 334 Dr. Batiquin was a Resident Physician at the Negros Oriental Provincial
Hospital, Dumaguete City from January 9, 1978 to September 1989. Between
1987 and September, 1989 she was also the Actg. Head of the Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology at the said Hospital.
Mrs. Villegas is a married woman who submitted to Dr. Batiquin for
prenatal care as the latter's private patient sometime before September 21,
[G.R. No. 118231. July 5, 1996]
In the morning of September 21, 1988 Dr. Batiquin, with the assistance
of Dr. Doris Teresita Sy who was also a Resident Physician at the same
DR. VICTORIA L. BATIQUIN and ALLAN BATIQUIN, petitioners, vs. Hospital, C.I. and O.R. Nurse Arlene Diones and some student nurses
COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES QUEDO D. ACOGIDO and performed a simple cesarean section on Mrs. Villegas at the Negros Oriental
FLOTILDE G. VILLEGAS, respondents. Provincial Hospital and after 45 minutes Mrs. Villegas delivered her first child,
Rachel Acogido, at about 11:45 that morning. Thereafter, Plaintiff remained
DECISION confined at the Hospital until September 27, 1988 during which period of
confinement she was regularly visited by Dr. Batiquin. On September 28,
DAVIDE, JR., J.: 1988, Mrs. Villegas checked out of the Hospital . . . and on the same day she
paid Dr. Batiquin, thru the latter's secretary, the amount of P1,500.00 as
Throughout history, patients have consigned their fates and lives to the "professional fee" . . . .
skill of their doctors. For a breach of this trust, men have been quick to demand
Soon after leaving the Hospital Mrs. Villegas began to suffer abdominal
retribution.Some 4,000 years ago, the Code of Hammurabi[1] then already
pains and complained of being feverish. She also gradually lost her appetite,
provided: "If a physician make a deep incision upon a man with his bronze
so she consulted Dr. Batiquin at the latter's polyclinic who prescribed for her
lancet and cause the man's death, or operate on the eye socket of a man with
certain medicines . . . which she had been taking up to December, 1988.
his bronze lancet and destroy the man's eyes, they shall cut off his
hand."[2] Subsequently, Hippocrates[3] wrote what was to become part of the In the meantime, Mrs. Villegas was given a Medical Certificate by Dr.
healer's oath: "I will follow that method of treatment which according to my Batiquin on October 31, 1988 . . . certifying to her physical fitness to return to
ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from her work on November 7, 1988. So, on the second week of November, 1988
whatever is deleterious and mischievous . . . . While I continue to keep this Mrs. Villegas returned to her work at the Rural Bank of Ayungon, Negros
oath unviolated may it be granted me to enjoy life and practice the art, Oriental.
respected by all men at all times but should I trespass and violate this oath,
may the reverse be my lot." At present, the primary objective of the medical The abdominal pains and fever kept on recurring and bothered Mrs.
profession is the preservation of life and maintenance of the health of the Villegas no end and despite the medications administered by Dr.
people.[4] Batiquin. When the pains become unbearable and she was rapidly losing
weight she consulted Dr. Ma. Salud Kho at the Holy Child's Hospital in
Needless to say then, when a physician strays from his sacred duty and Dumaguete City on January 20, 1989.
endangers instead the life of his patient, he must be made to answer
therefor. Although society today cannot and will not tolerate the punishment The evidence of Plaintiffs show that when Dr. Ma. Salud Kho examined
meted out by the ancients, neither will it and this Court, as this case would Mrs. Villegas at the Holy Child's Hospital on January 20, 1989 she found Mrs.
show, let the act go uncondemned. Villegas to be feverish, pale and was breathing fast. Upon examination she felt
an abdominal mass one finger below the umbilicus which she suspected to be
The petitioners appeal from the decision[5] of the Court of Appeals of 11 either a tumor of the uterus or an ovarian cyst, either of which could be
May 1994 in CA-G.R. CV No. 30851, which reversed the decision[6] of 21 cancerous. She had an x-ray taken of Mrs. Villegas' chest, abdomen and
December 1990 of Branch 30 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Negros kidney. She also took blood tests of Plaintiff.A blood count showed that Mrs.
Oriental in Civil Case No. 9492. Villegas had [an] infection inside her abdominal cavity. The result of all those
examinations impelled Dr. Kho to suggest that Mrs. Villegas submit to another
The facts, as found by the trial court, are as follows:
surgery to which the latter agreed.
When Dr. Kho opened the abdomen of Mrs. Villegas she found whitish- The Court of Appeals reviewed the entirety of Dr. Kho's testimony and,
yellow discharge inside, an ovarian cyst on each of the left and right ovaries even without admitting the private respondents' documentary evidence,
which gave out pus, dirt and pus behind the uterus, and a piece of rubber deemed Dr. Kho's positive testimony to definitely establish that a piece of
materials on the right side of the uterus embedded on [sic] the ovarian cyst, 2 rubber was found near private respondent Villegas' uterus. Thus, the Court of
inches by 3/4 inch in size. This piece of rubber material which Dr. Kho Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court, holding:
described as a "foreign body" looked like a piece of a "rubber glove" . . . and
which is [sic] also "rubber-drain like . . . . It could have been a torn section of a 4. The fault or negligence of appellee Dr. Batiquin is established by
surgeon's gloves or could have come from other sources. And this foreign preponderance of evidence. The trial court itself had narrated what happened
body was the cause of the infection of the ovaries and consequently of all the to appellant Flotilde after the cesarean operation made by appellee doctor . . .
discomfort suffered by Mrs. Villegas after her delivery on September 21, . After the second operation, appellant Flotilde became well and
1988.[7] healthy. Appellant Flotilde's troubles were caused by the infection due to the
The piece of rubber allegedly found near private respondent Flotilde "rubber" that was left inside her abdomen. Both appellants testified that after
Villegas' uterus was not presented in court, and although Dr. Ma. Salud Kho the operation made by appellee doctor, they did not go to any other doctor until
testified that she sent it to a pathologist in Cebu City for examination,[8] it was they finally decided to see another doctor in January, 1989 when she was not
not mentioned in the pathologist's Surgical Pathology Report.[9] getting any better under the care of appellee Dr. Batiquin . . . . Appellee Dr.
Batiquin admitted on the witness stand that she alone decided when to close
Aside from Dr. Kho's testimony, the evidence which mentioned the piece the operating area; that she examined the portion she operated on before
of rubber are a Medical Certificate,[10] a Progress Record,[11] an Anesthesia closing the same . . . . Had she exercised due diligence, appellee Dr. Batiquin
Record,[12] a Nurse's Record,[13] and a Physician's Discharge would have found the rubber and removed it before closing the operating
Summary.[14] The trial court, however, regarded these documentary evidence area.[20]
as mere hearsay, "there being no showing that the person or persons who
prepared them are deceased or unable to testify on the facts therein stated . . The appellate court then ruled:
. . Except for the Medical Certificate (Exhibit "F"), all the above documents
were allegedly prepared by persons other than Dr. Kho, and she merely affixed Appellants' evidence show[s] that they paid a total of P17,000.00 [deposit of
her signature on some of them to express her agreement thereto . . . ."[15] The P7,100.00 (Exh. G-1-A) plus hospital and medical expenses together with
trial court also refused to give weight to Dr. Kho's testimony regarding the doctor's fees in the total amount P9,900.00 (Exhs. G and G-2)] for the second
subject piece of rubber as Dr. Kho "may not have had first-hand knowledge" operation that saved her life.
thereof,[16] as could be gleaned from her statement, thus:
A . . . I have heard somebody that [sic] says [sic] there is [sic] a foreign For the miseries appellants endured for more than three (3) months, due to
body that goes with the tissues but unluckily I don't know where the the negligence of appellee Dr. Batiquin, they are entitled to moral damages in
rubber was.[17] the amount of P100,000.00; exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00
and attorney's fees in the amount of P25,000.00.
The trial court deemed vital Dr. Victoria Batiquin's testimony that when
she confronted Dr. Kho regarding the piece of rubber, "Dr. Kho answered that
there was rubber indeed but that she threw it away."[18] This statement, the trial The fact that appellant Flotilde can no longer bear children because her uterus
court noted, was never denied nor disputed by Dr. Kho, leading it to conclude: and ovaries were removed by Dr. Kho is not taken into consideration as it is
not shown that the removal of said organs were the direct result of the rubber
left by appellee Dr. Batiquin near the uterus. What is established is that the
There are now two different versions on the whereabouts of that offending rubber left by appellee cause infection, placed the life of appellant Flotilde in
"rubber" (1) that it was sent to the Pathologist in Cebu as testified to in Court jeopardy and caused appellants fear, worry and anxiety . . . .
by Dr. Kho and (2) that Dr. Kho threw it away as told by her to Defendant. The
failure of the Plaintiffs to reconcile these two different versions serve only to
weaken their claim against Defendant Batiquin.[19] WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment, dismissing the complaint for damages
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Another judgment is hereby entered ordering
defendants-appellees to pay plaintiffs-appellants the amounts of P17,000.00
All told, the trial court held in favor of the petitioners herein. as and for actual damages; P100,000.00 as and for moral damages;
P20,000.00 as and for exemplary damages; and P25,000.00 as and for turned out . . . to have pus. And then, cleaning up the uterus, at the
attorney's fees plus the cost of litigation. back of the uterus it was very dirty, it was full of pus. And there was
a [piece of] rubber, we found a [piece of] rubber on the right side.[24]
SO ORDERED.[21] We agree with the Court of Appeals. The phrase relied upon by the trial
court does not negate the fact that Dr. Kho saw a piece of rubber in private
From the above judgment, the petitioners appealed to this Court claiming respondent Villegas' abdomen, and that she sent it to a laboratory and then to
that the appellate court; (1) committed grave abuse of discretion by resorting Cebu City for examination by a pathologist.[25] Not even the Pathologist's
to findings of fact not supported by the evidence on record, and (2) exceeded Report, although devoid of any mention of a piece of rubber, could alter what
its discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, when it gave Dr. Kho saw. Furthermore, Dr. Kho's knowledge of the piece of rubber could
credence to testimonies punctured with contradictions and falsities. not be based on other than first hand knowledge for, as she asserted before
The private respondents commented that the petition raised only the trial court:
questions of fact, which were not proper for review by this Court. Q But you are sure you have seen [the piece of rubber]?
While the rule is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for A Oh yes. I was not the only one who saw it.[26]
review on certiorari, there are exceptions, among which are when the factual
findings of the trial court and the appellate court conflict, when the appealed The petitioners emphasize that the private respondents never reconciled
decision is clearly contradicted by the evidence on record, or when the Dr. Kho's testimony with Dr. Batiquin's claim on the witness stand that when
appellate court misapprehended the facts.[22] Dr. Batiquin confronted Dr. Kho about the foreign body, the latter said that
there was a piece of rubber but that she threw it away. Although hearsay, Dr.
After deciphering the cryptic petition, we find that the focal point of the Batiquin's claim was not objected to, and hence, the same is admissible[27] but
instant appeal is the appreciation of Dr. Kho's testimony. The petitioners it carries no probative value.[28] Nevertheless, assuming otherwise, Dr.
contend that the Court of Appeals misappreciated the following portion of Dr. Batiquin's statement cannot belie the fact that Dr. Kho found a piece of rubber
Kho's testimony: near private respondent Villegas' uterus. And even if we were to doubt Dr. Kho
Q What is the purpose of the examination? as to what she did to the piece of rubber, i.e., whether she threw it away or
sent it to Cebu City, we are not justified in distrusting her as to her recovery of
A Just in case, I was just thinking at the back of my mind, just in case this a piece of rubber from private respondent Villegas' abdomen. On this score, it
would turn out to be a medico-legal case, I have heard somebody is perfectly reasonable to believe the testimony of a witness with respect to
that [sic] says [sic] there is [sic] a foreign body that goes with the some facts and disbelieve his testimony with respect to other facts. And it has
tissues but unluckily I don't know where the rubber was. It was not been aptly said that even when a witness is found to have deliberately falsified
in the Lab, it was not in Cebu.[23] (Italics supplied) in some material particulars, it is not required that the whole of his
uncorroborated testimony be rejected, but such portions thereof deemed
The petitioners prefer the trial court's interpretation of the above testimony, i.e., worthy of belief may be credited.[29]
that Dr. Kho's knowledge of the piece of rubber was based on hearsay. The
Court of Appeals, on the other hand, concluded that the underscored phrase It is here worth nothing that the trial court paid heed to the following
was taken out of context by the trial court. According to the Court of Appeals, portions of Dr. Batiquin's testimony: that no rubber drain was used in the
the trial court should have likewise considered the other portions of Dr. Kho's operation,[30] and that there was neither any tear on Dr. Batiquin's gloves after
testimony, especially the following: the operation nor blood smears on her hands upon removing her
gloves.[31] Moreover, the trial court pointed out that the absence of a rubber
Q So you did actually conduct the operation on her? drain was corroborated by Dr. Doris Sy, Dr. Batiquin's assistant during the
A Yes, I did. operation on private respondent Villegas.[32] But the trial court failed to
recognize that the assertions of Drs. Batiquin and Sy were denials or negative
Q And what was the result? testimonies. Well-settled is the rule that positive testimony is stronger than
negative testimony.[33] Of course, as the petitioners advocate, such positive
A Opening up her abdomen, there was whitish-yellow discharge inside testimony must come from a credible source, which leads us to the second
the abdomen, there was an ovarian cyst on the left and side and assigned error.
there was also an ovarian cyst on the right which, on opening up or
freeing it up from the uterus, turned out to be pus. Both ovaries
While the petitioners claim that contradictions and falsities punctured Dr. The doctrine of [r]es ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is peculiar to the law of
Kho's testimony, a reading of the said testimony reveals no such infirmity and negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established
establishes Dr. Kho as a credible witness. Dr. Kho was frank throughout her without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of
turn on the witness stand. Furthermore, no motive to state any untruth was negligence. The doctrine is not a rule of substantive law, but merely a mode of
ever imputed against Dr. Kho, leaving her trustworthiness unimpaired.[34] The proof or a mere procedural convenience. The rule, when applicable to the facts
trial court's following declaration shows that while it was critical of the lack of and circumstances of a particular case, is not intended to and does not
care with which Dr. Kho handled the piece of rubber, it was not prepared to dispense with the requirement of proof of culpable negligence on the party
doubt Dr. Kho's credibility, thus only supporting out appraisal of Dr. Kho's charged. It merely determines and regulates what shall
trustworthiness: be prima facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving
a breach of the duty of due care. The doctrine can be invoked when and only
This is not to say that she was less than honest when she testified about her when, under the circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not
findings, but it can also be said that she did not take the most appropriate readily available.[36]
precaution to preserve that "piece of rubber" as an eloquent evidence of what
she would reveal should there be a "legal problem" which she claim[s] to have In the instant case, all the requisites for recourse to the doctrine are
anticipated.[35] present. First, the entire proceedings of the cesarean section were under the
exclusive control of Dr. Batiquin. In this light, the private respondents were
Considering that we have assessed Dr. Kho to be a credible witness, her bereft of direct evidence as to the actual culprit or the exact cause of the
positive testimony [that a piece of rubber was indeed found in private foreign object finding its way into private respondent Villegas' body, which,
respondent Villegas' abdomen] prevails over the negative testimony in favor needless to say, does not occur unless through the intervention of
of the petitioners. negligence. Second, since aside from the cesarean section, private
As such, the rule of res ipsa loquitur comes to fore. This Court has had respondent Villegas underwent no other operation which could have caused
occasion to delve into the nature and operation of this doctrine: the offending piece of rubber to appear in her uterus, it stands to reason that
such could only have been a by-product of the cesarean section performed by
This doctrine [res ipsa loquitur] is stated thus: "Where the thing which Dr. Batiquin. The petitioners, in this regard, failed to overcome the
causes injury is shown to be under the management of the defendant, and the presumption of negligence arising from resort to the doctrine of res ipsa
accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those loquitur. Dr. Batiquin is therefore liable for negligently leaving behind a piece
who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, of rubber in private respondent Villegas' abdomen and for all the adverse
in the absence of an explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose effects thereof.
from want of care." Or as Black's Law Dictionary puts it:
As a final word, this Court reiterates its recognition of the vital role the
medical profession plays in the lives of the people,[37] and State's compelling
Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself. Rebuttable presumption or
interest to enact measures to protect the public from "the potentially deadly
inference that defendant was negligent, which arises upon proof that [the]
effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat
instrumentality causing injury was in defendant's exclusive control, and that
our bodies and minds for disease or trauma."[38] Indeed, a physician is bound
the accident was one which ordinary does not happen in absence of
to serve the interest of his patients "with the greatest of solicitude, giving them
negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is [a] rule of evidence whereby negligence of
always his best talent and skill."[39]Through her tortious conduct, the petitioner
[the] alleged wrongdoer may be inferred from [the] mere fact that [the] accident
endangered the life of Flotilde Villegas, in violation of her profession's rigid
happened provided [the] character of [the] accident and circumstances
ethical code and in contravention of the legal standards set forth for
attending it lead reasonably to belief that in [the] absence of negligence it
professionals, in the general,[40] and members of the medical profession,[41] in
would not have occurred and that thing which caused injury is shown to have
been under [the] management and control of [the] alleged wrongdoer . . .
. Under [this] doctrine . . . the happening of an injury permits an inference of WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of 11 May 1994 of the Court of
negligence where plaintiff produces substantial evidence that [the] injury was Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 30851 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
caused by an agency or instrumentality under [the] exclusive control and
management of defendant, and that the occurrence [sic] was such that in the Costs against the petitioners.
ordinary course of things would not happen if reasonable care had been used. SO ORDERED.

xxx xxx xxx

15. Rodriguez v. Manila Railroad Co. (GR No. L-15688) In the fourth paragraph of the complaint — which is admitted to be true — it is
alleged that the defendant Railroad Company was conspicuously negligent in
relation to the origin of said fire, in the following respects, namely, first, in failing
G.R. No. L-15688 November 19, 1921 to exercise proper supervision over the employees in charge of the locomotive;
secondly, in allowing the locomotive which emitted these sparks to be operated
REMIGIO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, without having the smokestack protected by some device for arresting sparks;
vs. thirdly, in using in its locomotive upon this occasion Bataan coal, a fuel of
known inferior quality which, upon combustion, produces sparks in great
THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY, defendant-appellant.
Orense & Vera for appellant.
Domingo Imperial for appellees. The sole ground upon which the defense is rested is that the house of Remigio
Rodrigueza stood partly within the limits of the land owned by the defendant
company, though exactly how far away from the company's track does not
appear. It further appears that, after the railroad track was laid, the company
notified Rodrigueza to get his house off the land of the company and to remove
it from its exposed position. Rodrigueza did not comply with this suggestion,
STREET, J.: though he promised to put an iron roof on his house, which he never did.
Instead, he changed the materials of the main roof to nipa, leaving the kitchen
This action was instituted jointly by Remigio Rodrigueza and three others in and media-aguas covered with cogon. Upon this fact it is contended for the
the Court of First Instance of the Province of Albay to recover a sum of money defense that there was contributory negligence on the part of Remigio
of the Manila Railroad Company as damages resulting from a fire kindled by Rodrigueza in having his house partly on the premises of the Railroad
sparks from a locomotive engine under the circumstances set out below. Upon Company, and that for this reason the company is not liable. This position is
hearing the cause upon the complaint, answer and an agreed statement of in our opinion untenable for the reasons which we shall proceed to state.
facts, the trial judge rendered judgment against the defendant company in
favor of the plaintiffs and awarded to them the following sums respectively as In the first place, it will be noted that the fact suggested as constituting a
damages, to wit, (1) to Remigio Rodrigueza, P3,000; (2) to Domingo Gonzaga, defense to this action could not in any view of the case operate as a bar to
P400; (3) to Cristina Luna, P300; and (4) to Perfecta Losantas, P150; all with recovery by the three plaintiffs other than Remigio Rodrigueza, even assuming
lawful interest from March 21, 1919. From this judgment the defendant that the fire was first communicated to his house; for said three plaintiffs are in
appealed. nowise implicated in the act which supposedly constitutes the defense. In this
connection it will be observed that the right of action of each of these plaintiffs
The facts as appearing from the agreed statement, in relation with the is totally distinct from that of his co-plaintiff, so much so that each might have
complaint, are to the effect that the defendant Railroad Company operates a sued separately, and the defendant if it had seen fit to do so, might in this case
line through the district of Daraga in the municipality of Albay; that on January have demurred successfully to the complaint for misjoinder of parties plaintiff.
29, 1918, as one of its trains passed over said line, a great quantity of sparks The fact that the several rights of action of the different plaintiffs arose
were emitted from the smokestack of the locomotive, and fire was thereby simultaneously out of one act of the defendant is not sufficient of itself to
communicated to four houses nearby belonging to the four plaintiffs require, or even permit, the joinder of such parties as coplaintiffs in a single
respectively, and the same were entirely consumed. All of these houses were action (30 Cyc., 114) if objection had been made thereto. Domingo Gonzaga,
of light construction with the exception of the house of Remigio Rodrigueza, Cristina Luna, and Perfecta Losantas are therefore entitled to recover upon
which was of strong materials, though the roof was covered with nipa and the admitted fact that this fire originated in the negligent acts of the defendant;
cogon. The fire occurred immediately after the passage of the train, and a and the circumstance that the fire may have been communicated to their
strong wind was blowing at the time. It does not appear either in the complaint houses through the house of Remegio Rodrigueza, instead of having been
or in the agreed statement whose house caught fire first, though it is stated in directly communicated from the locomotive, is immaterial. (See 38 Am. Dec.,
the appellant's brief that the fire was first communicated to the house of 64, 77; 1 11 R. C. L., 968-971; Kansas City, etc. Railroad Co. vs. Blaker, 64 L.
Remigio Rodrigueza, from whence it spread to the others. R. A., 81 Pennsylvania Railroad Co. vs. Hope, 80 Pa. St., 373; 21 Am. Rep.
With respect to the case of Remegio Rodrigueza it is to be inferred that his Conn., 124; 38 Am. Dec., 64; 74; Southern Ry. Co. vs. Patterson, 105 Va. 6;
house stood upon this ground before the Railroad Company laid its line over 8 Ann. Cas., 44.) And the case for the plaintiff is apparently stronger where the
this course; and at any rate there is no proof that this plaintiff had unlawfully company constructs its line in proximity to a house already built and fails to
intruded upon the railroad's property in the act of building his house. What condemn it and remove it from its right of way.
really occurred undoubtedly is that the company, upon making this extension,
had acquired the land only, leaving the owner of the house free to remove it. From what has been said it is apparent that the judgment appealed from is in
Hence he cannot be considered to have been a trespasser in the beginning. all respect in conformity with the law, and the same is accordingly affirmed,
Rather, he was there at the sufferance of the defendant company, and so long with costs. So ordered.
as his house remained in this exposed position, he undoubtedly assumed the
risk of any loss that might have resulted from fires occasioned by the
defendant's locomotives if operated and managed with ordinary care. But he
cannot be held to have assumed the risk of any damage that might result from
the unlawful negligence acts of the defendant. Nobody is bound to anticipate
and defend himself against the possible negligence of another. Rather he has
a right to assume that the other will use the care of the ordinary prudent man.
(Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Co. vs. Hendrickson, 80 Pa. St., 182; 21
Am. Rep., 97.)

In the situation now under consideration the proximate and only cause of the
damage that occurred was the negligent act of the defendant in causing this
fire. The circumstance that Remigio Rodrigueza's house was partly on the
property of the defendant company and therefore in dangerous proximity to
passing locomotives was an antecedent condition that may in fact have made
the disaster possible, but that circumstance cannot be imputed to him as
contributory negligence destructive of his right of action, because, first, that
condition was not created by himself; secondly, because his house remained
on this ground by the toleration, and therefore with the consent of the Railroad
Company; and thirdly, because even supposing the house to be improperly
there, this fact would not justify the defendant in negligently destroying it.
(Grand Trunk Railway of Canada vs. Richardson, 91 U. S., 454; 23 L. ed., 356;
Norfolk etc. Ry. Co. vs. Perrow, 101 Va., 345, 350.)

The circumstance that the defendant company, upon planting its line near
Remigio Rodrigueza's house, had requested or directed him to remove it, did
not convert his occupancy into a trespass, or impose upon him any additional
responsibility over and above what the law itself imposes in such situation. In
this connection it must be remembered that the company could at any time
have removed said house in the exercise of the power of eminent domain, but
it elected not to do so.

Questions similar to that now before us have been under the consideration of
American courts many times, and their decisions are found to be uniformly
favorable to recovery where the property destroyed has been placed in whole
or in part on the right of way of the railroad company with its express or implied
consent. (L. R. Martin Timber Co. vs.Great Northern Railway Co., 123 Minn.,
423; Ann. Cas., 1915A, p. 496, note; Burroughs vs. Housatonic R.R. Co., 15
16. Andamo v. IAC (191 SCRA 195) Subsequently, on February 22, 1983, petitioners filed another action against
respondent corporation, this time a civil case, docketed as Civil Case No. TG-
748, for damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
G.R. No. 74761 November 6, 1990 before the same court. 1

NATIVIDAD V. ANDAMO and EMMANUEL R. ANDAMO, petitioners, On March 11, 1983, respondent corporation filed its answer to the complaint
vs. and opposition to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Hearings
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (First Civil Cases Division) and were conducted including ocular inspections on the land. However, on April
MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE, INC., respondents. 26, 1984, the trial court, acting on respondent corporation's motion to dismiss
or suspend the civil action, issued an order suspending further hearings in Civil
Lope E. Adriano for petitioners. Case No, TG-748 until after judgment in the related Criminal Case No. TG-
Padilla Law Office for private respondent.
Resolving respondent corporation's motion to dismiss filed on June 22, 1984,
the trial court issued on August 27, 1984 the disputed order dismissing Civil
Case No. TG-748 for lack of jurisdiction, as the criminal case which was
instituted ahead of the civil case was still unresolved. Said order was anchored
FERNAN, C.J.: on the provision of Section 3 (a), Rule III of the Rules of Court which provides
that "criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted
The pivotal issue in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is separately, but after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action
whether a corporation, which has built through its agents, waterpaths, water cannot be instituted until final judgment has been rendered in the criminal
conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby causing inundation and action." 2
damage to an adjacent land, can be held civilly liable for damages under
Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts such that the Petitioners appealed from that order to the Intermediate Appellate Court. 3
resulting civil case can proceed independently of the criminal case.
On February 17, 1986, respondent Appellate Court, First Civil Cases Division,
The antecedent facts are as follows: promulgated a decision 4 affirming the questioned order of the trial court. 5 A
motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the Appellate
Petitioner spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo are the owners of a Court in its resolution dated May 19, 1986. 6
parcel of land situated in Biga (Biluso) Silang, Cavite which is adjacent to that
of private respondent, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Inc., a religious Directly at issue is the propriety of the dismissal of Civil Case No. TG-748 in
corporation. accordance with Section 3 (a) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. Petitioners
contend that the trial court and the Appellate Court erred in dismissing Civil
Within the land of respondent corporation, waterpaths and contrivances, Case No. TG-748 since it is predicated on a quasi-delict. Petitioners have
including an artificial lake, were constructed, which allegedly inundated and raised a valid point.
eroded petitioners' land, caused a young man to drown, damaged petitioners'
crops and plants, washed away costly fences, endangered the lives of It is axiomatic that the nature of an action filed in court is determined by the
petitioners and their laborers during rainy and stormy seasons, and exposed facts alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of action. 7 The
plants and other improvements to destruction. purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it, including the period of
prescription, is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing the action,
In July 1982, petitioners instituted a criminal action, docketed as Criminal Case made in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its allegations
No. TG-907-82, before the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 4 (Tagaytay and prayer for relief. 8 The nature of an action is not necessarily determined or
City), against Efren Musngi, Orlando Sapuay and Rutillo Mallillin, officers and controlled by its title or heading but the body of the pleading or complaint itself.
directors of herein respondent corporation, for destruction by means of To avoid possible denial of substantial justice due to legal technicalities,
inundation under Article 324 of the Revised Penal Code.
pleadings as well as remedial laws should be liberally construed so that the a) Portions of the land of plaintiffs were
litigants may have ample opportunity to prove their respective claims. 9 eroded and converted to deep, wide and long
canals, such that the same can no longer be
Quoted hereunder are the pertinent portions of petitioners' complaint in Civil planted to any crop or plant.
Case No. TG-748:
b) Costly fences constructed by plaintiffs
4) That within defendant's land, likewise located at Biga were, on several occasions, washed away.
(Biluso), Silang, Cavite, adjacent on the right side of the
aforesaid land of plaintiffs, defendant constructed waterpaths c) During rainy and stormy seasons the lives
starting from the middle-right portion thereof leading to a big of plaintiffs and their laborers are always in
hole or opening, also constructed by defendant, thru the lower danger.
portion of its concrete hollow-blocks fence situated on the
right side of its cemented gate fronting the provincial highway, d) Plants and other improvements on other
and connected by defendant to a man height inter-connected portions of the land of plaintiffs are exposed
cement culverts which were also constructed and lain by to destruction. ... 10
defendant cross-wise beneath the tip of the said cemented
gate, the left-end of the said inter-connected culverts again
A careful examination of the aforequoted complaint shows that the civil action
connected by defendant to a big hole or opening thru the lower
is one under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts. All the
portion of the same concrete hollowblocks fence on the left elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit: (a) damages suffered by the
side of the said cemented gate, which hole or opening is
plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or some other person for
likewise connected by defendant to the cemented mouth of a
whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect
big canal, also constructed by defendant, which runs between the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by
northward towards a big hole or opening which was also built the plaintiff. 11
by defendant thru the lower portion of its concrete hollow-
blocks fence which separates the land of plaintiffs from that of
defendant (and which serves as the exit-point of the Clearly, from petitioner's complaint, the waterpaths and contrivances built by
floodwater coming from the land of defendant, and at the respondent corporation are alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners.
same time, the entrance-point of the same floodwater to the There is therefore, an assertion of a causal connection between the act of
land of plaintiffs, year after year, during rainy or stormy building these waterpaths and the damage sustained by petitioners. Such
seasons. action if proven constitutes fault or negligence which may be the basis for the
recovery of damages.
5) That moreover, on the middle-left portion of its land just
beside the land of plaintiffs, defendant also constructed an In the case of Samson vs. Dionisio, 12 the Court applied Article 1902, now
artificial lake, the base of which is soil, which utilizes the water Article 2176 of the Civil Code and held that "any person who without due
being channeled thereto from its water system thru inter- authority constructs a bank or dike, stopping the flow or communication
connected galvanized iron pipes (No. 2) and complimented by between a creek or a lake and a river, thereby causing loss and damages to a
rain water during rainy or stormy seasons, so much so that third party who, like the rest of the residents, is entitled to the use and
the water below it seeps into, and the excess water above it enjoyment of the stream or lake, shall be liable to the payment of an indemnity
inundates, portions of the adjoining land of plaintiffs. for loss and damages to the injured party.

6) That as a result of the inundation brought about by While the property involved in the cited case belonged to the public domain
defendant's aforementioned water conductors, contrivances and the property subject of the instant case is privately owned, the fact remains
and manipulators, a young man was drowned to death, while that petitioners' complaint sufficiently alleges that petitioners have sustained
herein plaintiffs suffered and will continue to suffer, as follows: and will continue to sustain damage due to the waterpaths and contrivances
built by respondent corporation. Indeed, the recitals of the complaint, the
alleged presence of damage to the petitioners, the act or omission of
respondent corporation supposedly constituting fault or negligence, and the According to the Report of the Code Commission "the foregoing provision
causal connection between the act and the damage, with no pre-existing though at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider
contractual obligation between the parties make a clear case of a quasi the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of
delict or culpa aquiliana. the criminal law, while the latter is a distinct and independent negligence,
which is a "culpa aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always
It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not without limitations. had its own foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence.
Article 431 of the Civil Code provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make Such distinction between criminal negligence and "culpa extra-contractual" or
use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a third person." SIC "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain
UTERE TUO UT ALIENUM NON LAEDAS. Moreover, adjoining landowners ... 14
have mutual and reciprocal duties which require that each must use his own
land in a reasonable manner so as not to infringe upon the rights and interests In the case of Castillo vs. Court of Appeals, 15 this Court held that a quasi-delict
of others. Although we recognize the right of an owner to build structures on or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a
his land, such structures must be so constructed and maintained using all substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent
reasonable care so that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners from a delict or crime — a distinction exists between the civil liability arising
and can withstand the usual and expected forces of nature. If the structures from a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual.
cause injury or damage to an adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter The same negligence causing damages may produce civil liability arising from
can claim indemnification for the injury or damage suffered. a crime under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasi-delicts or culpa
extra-contractual under the Civil Code. Therefore, the acquittal or conviction in
Article 2176 of the Civil Code imposes a civil liability on a person for damage the criminal case is entirely irrelevant in the civil case, unless, of course, in the
caused by his act or omission constituting fault or negligence, thus: event of an acquittal where the court has declared that the fact from which the
civil action arose did not exist, in which case the extinction of the criminal
Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to liability would carry with it the extinction of the civil liability.
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for
the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre- In Azucena vs. Potenciano, 16 the Court declared that in quasi-delicts, "(t)he
existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a civil action is entirely independent of the criminal case according to Articles 33
quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter. and 2177 of the Civil Code. There can be no logical conclusion than this, for
to subordinate the civil action contemplated in the said articles to the result of
Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault or negligence", covers not only acts the criminal prosecution — whether it be conviction or acquittal — would
render meaningless the independent character of the civil action and the clear
"not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character, whether intentional
injunction in Article 31, that his action may proceed independently of the
and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter."
the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and
found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, (if the
tortfeasor is actually charged also criminally), to recover damages on both WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated February 17, 1986 of the then
scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of Intermediate Appellate Court affirming the order of dismissal of the Regional
the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. 13 Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 18 (Tagaytay City) dated August 17, 1984 is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The trial court is ordered to reinstate
Civil Case No. TG-748 entitled "Natividad V. Andamo and Emmanuel R.
The distinctness of quasi-delicta is shown in Article 2177 of the Civil Code,
which states: Andamo vs. Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Inc." and to proceed with
the hearing of the case with dispatch. This decision is immediately executory.
Costs against respondent corporation.
Article 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the
preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil
liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the
plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or
omission of the defendant.
17. Navida v. Dizon (GR No. 125078) CELESTINO CALUMPAG, LORETO
S. SARMIENTO, CIRILO SAYAANG, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial
JARLO SAYSON, LEONCIO Court, Branch 37, General Santos
TACULAD, EUFROCINO A. x-------------------------x
SALVANI, JIMMY A. SAMELIN, x-------------------------x
MARO, CRISOSTOMO R. MIJARES, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial
CESAR MONAPCO, SILVANO Court, Branch 16, Davao City,
PALASPAS, CATALINO C. PANA, x-------------------------x
x-------------------------x S. DE LA PENA, JOSE G. DELUAO,
in her capacity as Presiding Judge GEROLAGA, RODULFO G. GEROY,
of the Regional Trial Court, Davao ROGELIO GONZAGA, ROLANDO
CESAR B. MONTERO, CLEMENTE x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
ORALO, SUSANTO C. OTANA, JR., Before the Court are consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari under
CHARLIE P. PADICA, ALFREDO P. Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, which arose out of two civil cases that were filed
PALASPAS, CATALINO C. PANA, in different courts but whose factual background and issues are closely
ERNESTO M. PASCUAL, intertwined.
RESURRECCION PENOS, PEDRO The petitions in G.R. Nos. 125078[1] and 125598[2] both assail the
PILAGO, ROMEO PRESBITERO, Order dated May 20, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
OMEO L. PRIEGO, ELADIO QUIBOL, of General SantosCity, Branch 37, in Civil Case No. 5617. The said Order
JESUS D. QUIBOL, MAGNO decreed the dismissal of the case in view of the perceived lack of jurisdiction
QUIZON, DIONISIO RAMOS, of the RTC over the subject matter of the complaint. The petition in G.R. No.
MAMERTO RANISES, NESTOR B. 125598 also challenges the Orders dated June 4, 1996[4] and July 9,
REBUYA, RODRIGO REQUILMEN, 1996,[5] which held that the RTC of General Santos City no longer had
ISIDRO RETANAL, CARLITO jurisdiction to proceed with Civil Case No. 5617.
SALIGUMBA, SILVERIO SILANGAN, On the other hand, the petitions in G.R. Nos.
ROBERTO SIVA, PACITA SUYMAN, 126654,[6] 127856,[7] and 128398[8] seek the reversal of the Order[9] dated
CANILO TAJON, AVELINO October 1, 1996 of the RTC of Davao City, Branch 16, in Civil Case No.
TATAPOD, ROMEO TAYCO, 24,251-96, which also dismissed the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
RENATO TAYCO, CONRADO G.R. Nos. 125078, 125598, 126654, 127856, and 128398 were
TECSON, AGAPITO TECSON, consolidated in the Resolutions dated February 10, 1997,[10] April 28,
ROMAN. E. TEJERO, ALFREDO 1997[11] and March 10, 1999.[12]
HERMONEGES TIRADOR, The factual antecedents of the petitions are as follows:
TUNGKO, LEANDRO B. TURCAL, Proceedings before
VICENTE URQUIZA, VICENTE G.R. No. 128398 the Texas Courts
LEOPOLDO VILLAVITO and Present: Beginning 1993, a number of personal injury suits were filed in
SAMUEL M. VILLEGAS, different Texas state courts by citizens of twelve foreign countries, including
Respondents. CORONA, C.J., the Philippines.The thousands of plaintiffs sought damages for injuries they
Chairperson, allegedly sustained from their exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP), a
VELASCO, JR., chemical used to kill nematodes (worms), while working on farms in 23 foreign
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, countries. The cases were eventually transferred to, and consolidated in,
PERALTA,* and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston
PEREZ, JJ. Division. The cases therein that involved plaintiffs from
the Philippines were Jorge Colindres Carcamo, et al. v. Shell Oil Co., et
Promulgated: May 30, 2011 al., which was docketed as Civil Action No. H-94-1359, and Juan Ramon
Valdez, et al. v. Shell Oil Co., et al., which was docketed as Civil Action No. H- Notwithstanding the dismissals that may result from
95-1356. The defendants in the consolidated cases prayed for the dismissal this Memorandum and Order, in the event that the highest
of all the actions under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. court of any foreign country finally affirms the dismissal for
lack of jurisdiction of an action commenced by a plaintiff in
In a Memorandum and Order dated July 11, 1995, the Federal District these actions in his home country or the country in which he
Court conditionally granted the defendants motion to dismiss. Pertinently, the was injured, that plaintiff may return to this court and, upon
court ordered that: proper motion, the court will resume jurisdiction over the
Delgado, Jorge Carcamo, Valdez and Isae Carcamo action as if the case had never been dismissed for [forum non
will be dismissed 90 days after the entry of this Memorandum conveniens].[13]
and Order provided that defendants and third- and fourth-
party defendants have:

(1) participated in expedited discovery in the United

States xxx; Civil Case No. 5617 before
the RTC
(2) either waived or accepted service of process of General Santos City an
and waived any other jurisdictional defense d G.R. Nos. 125078 and
within 40 days after the entry of this 125598
Memorandum and Order in any action
commenced by a plaintiff in these actions in his
home country or the country in which his injury In accordance with the above Memorandum and Order, a total of 336 plaintiffs
occurred. Any plaintiff desiring to bring such an from General Santos City (the petitioners in G.R. No. 125078, hereinafter
action will do so within 30 days after the entry of referred to as NAVIDA, et al.) filed a Joint Complaint[14] in the RTC of General
this Memorandum and Order; Santos City on August 10, 1995. The case was docketed as Civil Case No.
5617. Named as defendants therein were: Shell Oil Co. (SHELL); Dow
(3) waived within 40 days after the entry of this Chemical Co. (DOW); Occidental Chemical Corp. (OCCIDENTAL); Dole Food
Memorandum and Order any limitations-based Co., Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Standard Fruit Co., Standard Fruit and
defense that has matured since the Steamship Co. (hereinafter collectively referred to as DOLE); Chiquita Brands,
commencement of these actions in the courts Inc. and Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CHIQUITA); Del Monte Fresh
of Texas; Produce N.A. and Del Monte Tropical Fruit Co. (hereinafter collectively
referred to as DEL MONTE); Dead Sea Bromine Co., Ltd.; Ameribrom, Inc.;
(4) stipulated within 40 days after the entry of this Bromine Compounds, Ltd.; and Amvac Chemical Corp. (The aforementioned
Memorandum and Order that any discovery defendants are hereinafter collectively referred to as defendant companies.)
conducted during the pendency of these actions
may be used in any foreign proceeding to the NAVIDA, et al., prayed for the payment of damages in view of the
same extent as if it had been conducted in illnesses and injuries to the reproductive systems which they allegedly suffered
proceedings initiated there; and because of their exposure to DBCP. They claimed, among others, that they
were exposed to this chemical during the early 1970s up to the early 1980s
(5) submitted within 40 days after the entry of this when they used the same in the banana plantations where they worked at;
Memorandum and Order an agreement binding and/or when they resided within the agricultural area where such chemical was
them to satisfy any final judgment rendered in used.NAVIDA, et al., claimed that their illnesses and injuries were due to the
favor of plaintiffs by a foreign court. fault or negligence of each of the defendant companies in that they produced,
sold and/or otherwise put into the stream of commerce DBCP-containing
xxxx products. According to NAVIDA, et al., they were allowed to be exposed to the
said products, which the defendant companies knew, or ought to have known,
were highly injurious to the formers health and well-being.
Instead of answering the complaint, most of the defendant companies THE PRESENT
respectively filed their Motions for Bill of Particulars.[15] During the pendency of COMPLAINT AGAINST
the motions, on March 13, 1996, NAVIDA, et al., filed an Amended Joint DEFENDANT FOREIGN
Complaint,[16] excluding Dead Sea Bromine Co., Ltd., Ameribrom, Inc., COMPANIES IS NOT
Bromine Compounds, Ltd. and Amvac Chemical Corp. as party defendants. WITHIN THE SUBJECT
Again, the remaining defendant companies filed their various Motions OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL
for Bill of Particulars.[17] On May 15, 1996, DOW filed an Answer with COURT, BECAUSE IT IS
Counterclaim.[18] NOT A TORT CATEGORY
On May 20, 1996, without resolving the motions filed by the parties, THE PHILIPPINE LAW
the RTC of General Santos City issued an Order dismissing the
complaint. First, the trial court determined that it did not have jurisdiction to The specific tort asserted against defendant foreign
hear the case, to wit: companies in the present complaint is product liability
tort. When the averments in the present complaint are
examined in terms of the particular categories of tort
THE COMPLAINT FOR recognized in the Philippine Civil Code, it becomes stark clear
DAMAGES FILED WITH that such averments describe and identify the category of
THE REGIONAL TRIAL specific tort known as product liability tort. This is necessarily
COURT SHOULD BE so, because it is the product manufactured by defendant
DISMISSED FOR LACK OF foreign companies, which is asserted to be the proximate
JURISDICTION cause of the damages sustained by the plaintiff workers, and
the liability of the defendant foreign companies, is premised
xxxx on being the manufacturer of the pesticides.

The substance of the cause of action as stated in the It is clear, therefore, that the Regional Trial Court has
complaint against the defendant foreign companies cites jurisdiction over the present case, if and only if the Civil Code
activity on their part which took place abroad and had of the Philippines, or a suppletory special law prescribes a
occurred outside and beyond the territorial domain of product liability tort, inclusive of and comprehending the
the Philippines. These acts of defendants cited in the specific tort described in the complaint of the plaintiff
complaint included the manufacture of pesticides, their workers.[20]
packaging in containers, their distribution through sale or
other disposition, resulting in their becoming part of the
stream of commerce. Third, the RTC of General Santos City adjudged that NAVIDA, et al.,
were coerced into submitting their case to the Philippine courts, viz:
Accordingly, the subject matter stated in the complaint and
which is uniquely particular to the present case, consisted of FILING OF CASES IN
activity or course of conduct engaged in by foreign defendants THE PHILIPPINES -
outside Philippine territory, hence, outside and beyond the COERCED AND
jurisdiction of Philippine Courts, including the present ANOMALOUS
Regional Trial Court.[19]
The Court views that the plaintiffs did not freely choose to file
Second, the RTC of General Santos City declared that the tort alleged the instant action, but rather were coerced to do so, merely to
by NAVIDA, et al., in their complaint is a tort category that is not recognized in comply with the U.S. District Courts Order dated July 11,
Philippine laws. Said the trial court:
1995, and in order to keep open to the plaintiffs the PROHIBITS FORUM
opportunity to return to the U.S. District Court.[21] SHOPPING

This court frowns upon the fact that the parties herein are both
Fourth, the trial court ascribed little significance to the voluntary vigorously pursuing their appeal of the decision of the U.S.
appearance of the defendant companies therein, thus: District court dismissing the case filed thereat.To allow the
parties to litigate in this court when they are actively pursuing
THE DEFENDANTS the same cases in another forum, violates the rule on forum
SUBMISSION TO shopping so abhorred in this jurisdiction. x x x.
Defendants have appointed their agents authorized to COURT OF ITS OWN
accept service of summons/processes in JURISDICTION
the Philippines pursuant to the agreement in the U.S. court
that defendants will voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of this Moreover, the filing of the case in the U.S. courts divested this
court. While it is true that this court acquires jurisdiction over court of its own jurisdiction. This court takes note that the U.S.
persons of the defendants through their voluntary District Court did not decline jurisdiction over the cause of
appearance, it appears that such voluntary appearance of the action. The case was dismissed on the ground of forum non
defendants in this case is conditional. Thus in the Defendants conveniens, which is really a matter of venue. By taking
Amended Agreement Regarding Conditions of Dismissal for cognizance of the case, the U.S. District Court has, in
Forum Non Conveniens (Annex to the Complaint) filed with essence, concurrent jurisdiction with this court over the
the U.S. District Court, defendants declared that (t)he subject matter of this case. It is settled that initial acquisition
authority of each designated representative to accept service of jurisdiction divests another of its own jurisdiction. x x x.
of process will become effective upon final dismissal of these
actions by the Court. The decision of the U.S. District Court xxxx
dismissing the case is not yet final and executory since both
the plaintiffs and defendants appealed therefrom (par. 3(h), THIS CASE IS BARRED BY
3(i), Amended Complaint). Consequently, since the authority THE RULE OF LITIS
of the agent of the defendants in the Philippines is conditioned PENDENCIA
on the final adjudication of the case pending with
the U.S. courts, the acquisition of jurisdiction by this court Furthermore, the case filed in the U.S. court involves the
over the persons of the defendants is also conditional. x x x. same parties, same rights and interests, as in this case. There
exists litis pendencia since there are two cases involving the
The appointment of agents by the defendants, being same parties and interests. The court would like to emphasize
subject to a suspensive condition, thus produces no legal that in accordance with the rule on litis pendencia x x x; the
effect and is ineffective at the moment.[22] subsequent case must be dismissed. Applying the foregoing
[precept] to the case-at-bar, this court concludes that since
the case between the parties in the U.S. is still pending, then
Fifth, the RTC of General Santos City ruled that the act of NAVIDA, et this case is barred by the rule on litis pendencia.[23]
al., of filing the case in the Philippine courts violated the rules on forum
shopping and litis pendencia. The trial court expounded:
In fine, the trial court held that:
It behooves this Court, then to dismiss this case. For The RTC of General Santos City then issued an Order[31] dated
to continue with these proceedings, would be violative of the August 14, 1996, which merely noted the incidents still pending in Civil Case
constitutional provision on the Bill of Rights guaranteeing No. 5617 and reiterated that it no longer had any jurisdiction over the case.
speedy disposition of cases (Ref. Sec. 16, Article III,
Constitution). The court has no other choice. To insist on On August 30, 1996, DOW and OCCIDENTAL filed their Petition for
further proceedings with this case, as it is now presented, Review on Certiorari,[32] challenging the orders of the RTC of General Santos
might accord this court a charming appearance. But the same City dated May 20, 1996, June 4, 1996 and July 9, 1996. Their petition was
insistence would actually thwart the very ends of justice which docketed as G.R. No. 125598.
it seeks to achieve.
In their petition, DOW and OCCIDENTAL aver that the RTC of General
This evaluation and action is made not on account of but Santos City erred in ruling that it has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of
rather with due consideration to the fact that the dismissal of the case as well as the persons of the defendant companies.
this case does not necessarily deprive the parties especially
the plaintiffs of their possible remedies. The court is cognizant In a Resolution[33] dated October 7, 1996, this Court resolved to
that the Federal Court may resume proceedings of that earlier consolidate G.R. No. 125598 with G.R. No. 125078.
case between the herein parties involving the same acts or
omissions as in this case. CHIQUITA filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari,[34] which sought
the reversal of the RTC Orders dated May 20, 1996, July 9, 1996 and August
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing 14, 1996. The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 126018. In a
considerations, this case is now considered DISMISSED.[24] Resolution[35] dated November 13, 1996, the Court dismissed the aforesaid
petition for failure of CHIQUITA to show that the RTC committed grave abuse
of discretion. CHIQUITA filed a Motion for Reconsideration,[36] but the same
On June 4, 1996, the RTC of General Santos City likewise issued was denied through a Resolution[37] dated January 27, 1997.
an Order,[25] dismissing DOWs Answer with Counterclaim.
Civil Case No. 24,251-96
CHIQUITA, DEL MONTE and SHELL each filed a motion for before the RTC
reconsideration[26] of the RTC Order dated May 20, 1996, while DOW filed a of Davao City and G.R.
motion for reconsideration[27] of the RTC Order dated June 4, Nos. 126654, 127856, and
1996. Subsequently, DOW and OCCIDENTAL also filed a Joint Motion for 128398
Reconsideration[28] of the RTC Order dated May 20, 1996.
Another joint complaint for damages against SHELL, DOW, OCCIDENTAL,
In an Order[29] dated July 9, 1996, the RTC of General Santos City DOLE, DEL MONTE, and CHIQUITA was filed before Branch 16 of the RTC
declared that it had already lost its jurisdiction over the case as it took into of Davao City by 155 plaintiffs from Davao City. This case was docketed as
consideration the Manifestation of the counsel of NAVIDA, et al., which stated Civil Case No. 24,251-96. These plaintiffs (the petitioners in G.R. No. 126654,
that the latter had already filed a petition for review on certiorari before this hereinafter referred to as ABELLA, et al.) amended their Joint-Complaint on
Court. May 21, 1996.[38]

CHIQUITA and SHELL filed their motions for reconsideration[30] of the Similar to the complaint of NAVIDA, et al., ABELLA, et al., alleged that,
above order. as workers in the banana plantation and/or as residents near the said
plantation, they were made to use and/or were exposed to nematocides,
On July 11, 1996, NAVIDA, et al., filed a Petition for Review which contained the chemical DBCP. According to ABELLA, et al., such
on Certiorari in order to assail the RTC Order dated May 20, 1996, which was exposure resulted in serious and permanent injuries to their health, including,
docketed as G.R. No. 125078. but not limited to, sterility and severe injuries to their reproductive
capacities.[39]ABELLA, et al., claimed that the defendant companies
manufactured, produced, sold, distributed, used, and/or made available in
commerce, DBCP without warning the users of its hazardous effects on health,
and without providing instructions on its proper use and application, which the Dismiss on Forum non [conveniens], said
defendant companies knew or ought to have known, had they exercised petition was provisionally dismissed on
ordinary care and prudence. condition that these cases be filed in the
Philippines or before 11 August 1995
Except for DOW, the other defendant companies filed their respective motions (Philippine date; Should the Philippine Courts
for bill of particulars to which ABELLA, et al., filed their opposition. DOW and refuse or deny jurisdiction, the U. S. Courts
DEL MONTE filed their respective Answers dated May 17, 1996 and June 24, will reassume jurisdiction.)
11. In the Amended Joint Complaint, plaintiffs aver that: on 11
The RTC of Davao City, however, junked Civil Case No. 24,251-96 in July 1995, the Federal District Court issued a Memorandum
its Order dated October 1, 1996, which, in its entirety, reads: and Order conditionally dismissing several of the consolidated
actions including those filed by the Filipino complainants. One
Upon a thorough review of the Complaint and of the conditions imposed was for the plaintiffs to file actions
Amended Complaint For: Damages filed by the plaintiffs in their home countries or the countries in which they were
against the defendants Shell Oil Company, DOW Chemicals injured x x x. Notwithstanding, the Memorandum and [O]rder
Company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Standard Fruit further provided that should the highest court of any foreign
Company, Standard Fruit and Steamship, DOLE Food country affirm the dismissal for lack of jurisdictions over these
Company, DOLE Fresh Fruit Company, Chiquita Brands, Inc., actions filed by the plaintiffs in their home countries [or] the
Chiquita Brands International, Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A. countries where they were injured, the said plaintiffs may
and Del Monte Tropical Fruits Co., all foreign corporations return to that court and, upon proper motion, the Court will
with Philippine Representatives, the Court, as correctly resume jurisdiction as if the case had never been dismissed
pointed out by one of the defendants, is convinced that for forum non conveniens.
plaintiffs would have this Honorable Court dismiss the case to
pave the way for their getting an affirmance by the Supreme The Court however is constrained to dismiss the case
Court (#10 of Defendants Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A. and at bar not solely on the basis of the above but because it
Del Monte Tropical Fruit Co., Reply to Opposition dated July shares the opinion of legal experts given in the interview made
22, 1996). Consider these: by the Inquirer in its Special report Pesticide Cause Mass
Sterility, to wit:
1) In the original Joint Complaint,
plaintiffs state that: defendants have no 1. Former Justice Secretary Demetrio Demetria in a
properties in the Philippines; they have no May 1995 opinion said: The Philippines should be an
agents as well (par. 18); plaintiffs are suing inconvenient forum to file this kind of damage suit
the defendants for tortuous acts committed against foreign companies since the causes of action
by these foreign corporations on their alleged in the petition do not exist under Philippine
respective countries, as plaintiffs, after laws. There has been no decided case in Philippine
having elected to sue in the place of Jurisprudence awarding to those adversely affected
defendants residence, are now compelled by by DBCP. This means there is no available evidence
a decision of a Texas District Court to file which will prove and disprove the relation between
cases under torts in this jurisdiction sterility and DBCP.
for causes of actions which occurred
abroad (par. 19); a petition was filed by same 2. Retired Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento
plaintiffs against same defendants in the opined that while a class suit is allowed in
Courts of Texas, USA, plaintiffs seeking for the Philippines the device has been employed
payment of damages based on negligence, strictly. Mass sterility will not qualify as a class suit
strict liability, conspiracy and international tort injury within the contemplation of Philippine statute.
theories (par. 27); upon defendants Motion to
3. Retired High Court Justice Rodolfo Nocom stated In its petition, CHIQUITA argues that the RTC of Davao City erred in
that there is simply an absence of doctrine here that dismissing the case motu proprio as it acquired jurisdiction over the subject
permits these causes to be heard. No product liability matter of the case as well as over the persons of the defendant companies
ever filed or tried here. which voluntarily appeared before it. CHIQUITA also claims that the RTC of
Davao City cannot dismiss the case simply on the basis of opinions of alleged
Case ordered dismissed.[40] legal experts appearing in a newspaper article.

Initially, this Court in its Resolution[43] dated July 28, 1997, dismissed
Docketed as G.R. No. 126654, the petition for review, filed on November 12, the petition filed by CHIQUITA for submitting a defective certificate against
1996 by ABELLA, et al., assails before this Court the above-quoted order of forum shopping. CHIQUITA, however, filed a motion for reconsideration, which
the RTC of Davao City. was granted by this Court in the Resolution[44] dated October 8, 1997.

ABELLA, et al., claim that the RTC of Davao City erred in dismissing Civil Case On March 7, 1997, DEL MONTE also filed its petition for review
No. 24,251-96 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. on certiorari before this Court assailing the above-mentioned orders of the
RTC of Davao City. Its petition was docketed as G.R. No. 127856.
According to ABELLA, et al., the RTC of Davao City has jurisdiction
over the subject matter of the case since Articles 2176 and 2187 of the Civil DEL MONTE claims that the RTC of Davao City has jurisdiction
Code are broad enough to cover the acts complained of and to support their over Civil Case No. 24,251-96, as defined under the law and that the said court
claims for damages. already obtained jurisdiction over its person by its voluntary appearance and
the filing of a motion for bill of particulars and, later, an answer to the
ABELLA, et al., further aver that the dismissal of the case, based on complaint. According to DEL MONTE, the RTC of Davao City, therefore, acted
the opinions of legal luminaries reported in a newspaper, by the RTC of Davao beyond its authority when it dismissed the case motu proprio or without any
City is bereft of basis. According to them, their cause of action is based on motion to dismiss from any of the parties to the case.
quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. They also maintain that the
absence of jurisprudence regarding the award of damages in favor of those In the Resolutions dated February 10, 1997, April 28, 1997, and March
adversely affected by the DBCP does not preclude them from presenting 10, 1999, this Court consolidated G.R. Nos. 125078, 125598, 126654, 127856,
evidence to prove their allegations that their exposure to DBCP caused their and 128398.
sterility and/or infertility.
The Consolidated Motion
SHELL, DOW, and CHIQUITA each filed their respective motions for to Drop DOW,
reconsideration of the Order dated October 1, 1996 of the RTC of Davao OCCIDENTAL, and SHELL
City.DEL MONTE also filed its motion for reconsideration, which contained an as Party-Respondents
additional motion for the inhibition of the presiding judge. filed by NAVIDA, et al. and
ABELLA, et al.
The presiding judge of Branch 16 then issued an Order[41] dated
December 2, 1996, voluntarily inhibiting himself from trying the case. Thus, the On September 26, 1997, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., filed
case was re-raffled to Branch 13 of the RTC of Davao City. before this Court a Consolidated Motion (to Drop Party-Respondents).[45] The
plaintiff claimants alleged that they had amicably settled their cases with DOW,
In an Order[42] dated December 16, 1996, the RTC of Davao City OCCIDENTAL, and SHELL sometime in July 1997. This settlement agreement
affirmed the Order dated October 1, 1996, and denied the respective motions was evidenced by facsimiles of the Compromise Settlement, Indemnity, and
for reconsideration filed by defendant companies. Hold Harmless Agreement, which were attached to the said motion.Pursuant
to said agreement, the plaintiff claimants sought to withdraw their petitions as
Thereafter, CHIQUITA filed a Petition for Review dated March 5, 1997, against DOW, OCCIDENTAL, and SHELL.
questioning the Orders dated October 1, 1996 and December 16, 1996 of the
RTC of Davao City. This case was docketed as G.R. No. 128398.
DOLE, DEL MONTE and CHIQUITA, however, opposed the motion, that it has no objections to the withdrawal of the petition filed by DOW and
as well as the settlement entered into between the plaintiff claimants and OCCIDENTAL in G.R. No. 125598.
In a Resolution[57] dated October 11, 2004, this Court granted, among
The Memoranda of the others, the motion to withdraw petition for review filed by DOW and

Considering the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced by the THE ISSUES
parties, this Court, in a Resolution dated June 22, 1998,[46] required all the
parties to submit their respective memoranda. In their Consolidated Memorandum, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al.,
presented the following issues for our consideration:
CHIQUITA filed its Memorandum on August 28, 1998;[47] SHELL
asked to be excused from the filing of a memorandum alleging that it had IN REFUTATION
already executed a compromise agreement with the plaintiff
claimants.[48] DOLE filed its Memorandum on October 12, 1998[49] while DEL I. THE COURT DISMISSED THE CASE DUE TO
MONTE filed on October 13, 1998.[50] NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., filed LACK OF JURISDICTION.
their Consolidated Memorandum on February 3, 1999;[51] and DOW and
OCCIDENTAL jointly filed a Memorandum on December 23, 1999.[52] a) The court did not simply dismiss the case because
it was filed in bad faith with petitioners intending to
The Motion to Withdraw have the same dismissed and returned to
Petition for Review in G.R. the Texas court.
No. 125598
b) The court dismissed the case because it was
convinced that it did not have jurisdiction.
On July 13, 2004, DOW and OCCIDENTAL filed a Motion to Withdraw
Petition for Review in G.R. No. 125598, [53] explaining that the said petition is IN SUPPORT OF THE PETITION
already moot and academic and no longer presents a justiciable controversy
since they have already entered into an amicable settlement with NAVIDA, et II. THE TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER
al. DOW and OCCIDENTAL added that they have fully complied with their THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CASE.
obligations set forth in the 1997 Compromise Agreements.
a. The acts complained of occurred within Philippine
DOLE filed its Manifestation dated September 6, 2004,[54] interposing territory.
no objection to the withdrawal of the petition, and further stating that they
maintain their position that DOW and OCCIDENTAL, as well as other settling b. Art. 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is
defendant companies, should be retained as defendants for purposes of broad enough to cover the acts complained of.
prosecuting the cross-claims of DOLE, in the event that the complaint below
is reinstated. c. Assumption of jurisdiction by the U.S. District Court
over petitioner[s] claims did not divest Philippine
NAVIDA, et al., also filed their Comment dated September 14, [c]ourts of jurisdiction over the same.
2004,[55] stating that they agree with the view of DOW and OCCIDENTAL that
the petition in G.R. No. 125598 has become moot and academic because Civil d. The Compromise Agreement and the subsequent
Case No. 5617 had already been amicably settled by the parties in 1997. Consolidated Motion to Drop Party Respondents
Dow, Occidental and Shell does not unjustifiably
On September 27, 2004, DEL MONTE filed its Comment on Motion to prejudice remaining respondents Dole, Del Monte
Withdraw Petition for Review Filed by Petitioners in G.R. No. 125598,[56]stating and Chiquita.[58]
allegedly suffered. Finally, DOLE adds that the RTC of Davao City gravely
DISCUSSION erred in relying upon newspaper reports in dismissing Civil Case No. 24,251-
96 given that newspaper articles are hearsay and without any evidentiary
On the issue of value. Likewise, the alleged legal opinions cited in the newspaper reports were
jurisdiction taken judicial notice of, without any notice to the parties. DOLE, however,
opines that the dismissal of Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96 was proper,
Essentially, the crux of the controversy in the petitions at bar is given that plaintiff claimants merely prosecuted the cases with the sole intent
whether the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City erred in of securing a dismissal of the actions for the purpose of convincing the U.S.
dismissing Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96, respectively, for lack of Federal District Court to re-assume jurisdiction over the cases.
In a similar vein, CHIQUITA argues that the courts a quo had
Remarkably, none of the parties to this case claims that the courts a jurisdiction over the subject matter of the cases filed before them. The
quo are bereft of jurisdiction to determine and resolve the above-stated Amended Joint-Complaints sought approximately P2.7 million in damages for
cases. All parties contend that the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC each plaintiff claimant, which amount falls within the jurisdiction of the
of Davao City have jurisdiction over the action for damages, specifically for RTC. CHIQUITA avers that the pertinent matter is the place of the alleged
approximately P2.7 million for each of the plaintiff claimants. exposure to DBCP, not the place of manufacture, packaging, distribution,
sale, etc., of the said chemical. This is in consonance with the lex loci delicti
NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., argue that the allegedly tortious commisi theory in determining the situs of a tort, which states that the law of
acts and/or omissions of defendant companies occurred within Philippine the place where the alleged wrong was committed will govern the
territory. Specifically, the use of and exposure to DBCP that was action. CHIQUITA and the other defendant companies also submitted
manufactured, distributed or otherwise put into the stream of commerce by themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC by making voluntary appearances
defendant companies happened in the Philippines. Said fact allegedly and seeking for affirmative reliefs during the course of the proceedings. None
constitutes reasonable basis for our courts to assume jurisdiction over the of the defendant companies ever objected to the exercise of jurisdiction by the
case. Furthermore, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., assert that the courts a quo over their persons. CHIQUITA, thus, prays for the remand of Civil
provisions of Chapter 2 of the Preliminary Title of the Civil Code, as well as Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96 to the RTC of General Santos City and the
Article 2176 thereof, are broad enough to cover their claim for damages. Thus, RTC of Davao City, respectively.
NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., pray that the respective rulings of the RTC
of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City in Civil Case Nos. 5617 The RTC of General
and 24,251-96 be reversed and that the said cases be remanded to the Santos City and the RTC of
courts a quo for further proceedings. Davao City have
jurisdiction over Civil
DOLE similarly maintains that the acts attributed to defendant Case Nos. 5617 and
companies constitute a quasi-delict, which falls under Article 2176 of the Civil 24,251-96, respectively
Code. In addition, DOLE states that if there were no actionable wrongs
committed under Philippine law, the courts a quo should have dismissed the
civil cases on the ground that the Amended Joint-Complaints of NAVIDA, et The rule is settled that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is
al., and ABELLA, et al., stated no cause of action against the defendant conferred by law and is determined by the allegations in the complaint and the
companies. DOLE also argues that if indeed there is no positive law defining character of the relief sought, irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled
the alleged acts of defendant companies as actionable wrong, Article 9 of the to all or some of the claims asserted therein.[59] Once vested by law, on a
Civil Code dictates that a judge may not refuse to render a decision on the particular court or body, the jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the
ground of insufficiency of the law. The court may still resolve the case, applying action cannot be dislodged by anybody other than by the legislature through
the customs of the place and, in the absence thereof, the general principles of the enactment of a law.
law. DOLE posits that the Philippines is the situs of the tortious acts allegedly
committed by defendant companies as NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., At the time of the filing of the complaints, the jurisdiction of the RTC in
point to their alleged exposure to DBCP which occurred in the Philippines, as civil cases under Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No.
the cause of the sterility and other reproductive system problems that they 7691, was:
SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts damages in the amount of Four Hundred Thousand Pesos
shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: (P400,000.00) each;

xxxx c) TO PAY EACH PLAINTIFF exemplary

damages in the amount of Six Hundred Thousand Pesos
(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of (P600,000.00);
interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys fees, litigation
expenses, and costs or the value of the property in d) TO PAY EACH PLAINTIFF attorneys
controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos fees of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00); and
(P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where
the demand, exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds e) TO PAY THE COSTS of the suit.[61]
Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).[60]

From the foregoing, it is clear that the claim for damages is the main
cause of action and that the total amount sought in the complaints is
Corollary thereto, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 09-94, approximately P2.7 million for each of the plaintiff claimants. The RTCs
states: unmistakably have jurisdiction over the cases filed in General Santos City and
Davao City, as both claims by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., fall within
2. The exclusion of the term damages of whatever kind in the purview of the definition of the jurisdiction of the RTC under Batas
determining the jurisdictional amount under Section 19 (8) Pambansa Blg. 129.
and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No.
7691, applies to cases where the damages are merely Moreover, the allegations in both Amended Joint-Complaints narrate
incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of that:
action. However, in cases where the claim for damages is the
main cause of action, or one of the causes of action, the THE CAUSES OF ACTION
amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the
jurisdiction of the court. 4. The Defendants manufactured, sold, distributed,
nematocides containing the chemical dibromochloropropane,
Here, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., sought in their similarly- commonly known as DBCP. THE CHEMICAL WAS USED
worded Amended Joint-Complaints filed before the courts a quo, the following AGAINST the parasite known as the nematode, which
prayer: plagued banana plantations, INCLUDING THOSE in
the Philippines. AS IT TURNED OUT, DBCP not only
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most the human reproductive system as well.
respectfully prayed that after hearing, judgment be rendered
in favor of the plaintiffs ordering the defendants: 5. The plaintiffs were exposed to DBCP in the
1970s up to the early 1980s WHILE (a) they used this
a) TO PAY EACH PLAINTIFF moral product in the banana plantations WHERE they were
damages in the amount of One Million Five Hundred employed, and/or (b) they resided within the agricultural
Thousand Pesos (P1,500,00.00); area WHERE IT WAS USED. As a result of such exposure,
the plaintiffs suffered serious and permanent injuries TO
THEIR HEALTH, including, but not limited to, STERILITY and
severe injuries to their reproductive capacities.
e. Failed to test DBCP prior to releasing
6. THE DEFENDANTS WERE AT FAULT OR WERE these products for sale, or to cause their
NEGLIGENT IN THAT THEY MANUFACTURED, produced, subsidiaries or affiliates to do so; and
sold, and/or USED DBCP and/or otherwise, PUT THE
SAME into the stream of commerce, WITHOUT f. Failed to reveal the results of tests
ON HEALTH AND/OR WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS ON ITS governmental agencies and the public, or to
PROPER USE AND APPLICATION. THEY allowed Plaintiffs cause their subsidiaries or affiliate to do so.
to be exposed to, DBCP-containing materials which THEY 8. The illnesses and injuries of each plaintiff are also
knew, or in the exercise of ordinary care and prudence ought due to the FAULT or negligence of defendants Standard Fruit
to have known, were highly harmful and injurious to the Company, Dole Fresh Fruit Company, Dole Food Company,
Plaintiffs health and well-being. Inc., Chiquita Brands, Inc. and Chiquita Brands International,
Inc. in that they failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent
7. The Defendants WHO MANUFACTURED, each plaintiffs harmful exposure to DBCP-containing products
PRODUCED, SOLD, DISTRIBUTED, MADE AVAILABLE OR which defendants knew or should have known were
PUT DBCP INTO THE STREAM OF COMMERCE were hazardous to each plaintiff in that they, AMONG OTHERS:
negligent OR AT FAULT in that they, AMONG OTHERS:
a. Failed to adequately supervise and
a. Failed to adequately warn Plaintiffs of instruct Plaintiffs in the safe and proper
the dangerous characteristics of DBCP, or to application of DBCP-containing products;
cause their subsidiaries or affiliates to so
warn plaintiffs; b. Failed to implement proper methods
and techniques of application of said
b. Failed to provide plaintiffs with products, or to cause such to be
information as to what should be reasonably implemented;
safe and sufficient clothing and proper
protective equipment and appliances, if any, c. Failed to warn Plaintiffs of the hazards
to protect plaintiffs from the harmful effects of of exposure to said products or to cause them
exposure to DBCP, or to cause their to be so warned;
subsidiaries or affiliates to do so;
d. Failed to test said products for adverse
c. Failed to place adequate warnings, in a health effects, or to cause said products to be
language understandable to the worker, on tested;
containers of DBCP-containing materials to
warn of the dangers to health of coming into e. Concealed from Plaintiffs information
contact with DBCP, or to cause their concerning the observed effects of said
subsidiaries or affiliates to do so; products on Plaintiffs;

d. Failed to take reasonable precaution or f. Failed to monitor the health of plaintiffs

to exercise reasonable care to publish, adopt exposed to said products;
and enforce a safety plan and a safe method
of handling and applying DBCP, or to cause g. Failed to place adequate labels on
their subsidiaries or affiliates to do so; containers of said products to warn them of
the damages of said products; and
h. Failed to use substitute nematocides for damages filed by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., with individual claims of
said products or to cause such substitutes to approximately P2.7 million for each plaintiff claimant, which obviously falls
[be] used.[62] (Emphasis supplied and words within the purview of the civil action jurisdiction of the RTCs.
in brackets ours.)
Moreover, the injuries and illnesses, which NAVIDA, et al., and
ABELLA, et al., allegedly suffered resulted from their exposure to DBCP while
Quite evidently, the allegations in the Amended Joint-Complaints of they were employed in the banana plantations located in the Philippines or
NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., attribute to defendant companies certain while they were residing within the agricultural areas also located in
acts and/or omissions which led to their exposure to nematocides containing the Philippines.The factual allegations in the Amended Joint-Complaints all
the chemical DBCP. According to NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., such point to their cause of action, which undeniably occurred in
exposure to the said chemical caused ill effects, injuries and illnesses, the Philippines. The RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City
specifically to their reproductive system. obviously have reasonable basis to assume jurisdiction over the cases.

Thus, these allegations in the complaints constitute the cause of It is, therefore, error on the part of the courts a quo when they
action of plaintiff claimants a quasi-delict, which under the Civil Code is defined dismissed the cases on the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the mistaken
as an act, or omission which causes damage to another, there being fault or assumption that the cause of action narrated by NAVIDA, et al., and
negligence. To be precise, Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides: ABELLA, et al., took place abroad and had occurred outside and beyond the
territorial boundaries of the Philippines, i.e., the manufacture of the pesticides,
Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes their packaging in containers, their distribution through sale or other
damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged disposition, resulting in their becoming part of the stream of commerce,[65] and,
to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there hence, outside the jurisdiction of the RTCs.
is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is
called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Certainly, the cases below are not criminal cases where territoriality,
Chapter. or the situs of the act complained of, would be determinative of jurisdiction and
venue for trial of cases. In personal civil actions, such as claims for payment
As specifically enumerated in the amended complaints, NAVIDA, et of damages, the Rules of Court allow the action to be commenced and tried in
al., and ABELLA, et al., point to the acts and/or omissions of the defendant the appropriate court, where any of the plaintiffs or defendants resides, or in
companies in manufacturing, producing, selling, using, and/or otherwise the case of a non-resident defendant, where he may be found, at the election
putting into the stream of commerce, nematocides which contain DBCP, of the plaintiff.[66]
without informing the users of its hazardous effects on health and/or without
instructions on its proper use and application. [63] In a very real sense, most of the evidence required to prove the claims
of NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., are available only in
Verily, in Citibank, N.A. v. Court of Appeals,[64] this Court has always the Philippines.First, plaintiff claimants are all residents of the Philippines,
reminded that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is either in General Santos City or in Davao City. Second, the specific areas
determined by the allegations of the complaint, irrespective of whether or not where they were allegedly exposed to the chemical DBCP are within the
the plaintiffs are entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted territorial jurisdiction of the courts a quo wherein NAVIDA, et al., and
therein. The jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the ABELLA, et al., initially filed their claims for damages. Third, the testimonial
defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, and documentary evidence from important witnesses, such as doctors, co-
the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the workers, family members and other members of the community, would be
defendants. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the easier to gather in the Philippines. Considering the great number of plaintiff
action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The claimants involved in this case, it is not far-fetched to assume that voluminous
averments therein and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be records are involved in the presentation of evidence to support the claim of
consulted. plaintiff claimants. Thus, these additional factors, coupled with the fact that the
alleged cause of action of NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., against the
Clearly then, the acts and/or omissions attributed to the defendant defendant companies for damages occurred in the Philippines, demonstrate
companies constitute a quasi-delict which is the basis for the claim for that, apart from the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City
having jurisdiction over the subject matter in the instant civil cases, they are, jurisdiction over the persons of the defendants and the subject matter, as in
indeed, the convenient fora for trying these cases.[67] the case of the courts a quo, the decision on all questions arising therefrom is
but an exercise of such jurisdiction. Any error that the court may commit in the
The RTC exercise of its jurisdiction is merely an error of judgment, which does not affect
of General Santos City an its authority to decide the case, much less divest the court of the jurisdiction
d the RTC over the case.[70]
of Davao City validly
acquired jurisdiction over Plaintiffs purported bad
the persons of all the faith in filing the subject
defendant companies civil cases in Philippine

It is well to stress again that none of the parties claims that the courts a
quo lack jurisdiction over the cases filed before them. All parties are one in Anent the insinuation by DOLE that the plaintiff claimants filed their
asserting that the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City have cases in bad faith merely to procure a dismissal of the same and to allow them
validly acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the defendant companies in to return to the forum of their choice, this Court finds such argument much too
the action below. All parties voluntarily, unconditionally and knowingly speculative to deserve any merit.
appeared and submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts a quo.
It must be remembered that this Court does not rule on allegations
Rule 14, Section 20 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that [t]he that are unsupported by evidence on record. This Court does not rule on
defendants voluntary appearance in the action shall be equivalent to service allegations which are manifestly conjectural, as these may not exist at all. This
of summons. In this connection, all the defendant companies designated and Court deals with facts, not fancies; on realities, not appearances. When this
authorized representatives to receive summons and to represent them in the Court acts on appearances instead of realities, justice and law will be short-
proceedings before the courts a quo. All the defendant companies submitted lived.[71] This is especially true with respect to allegations of bad faith, in line
themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts a quo by making several voluntary with the basic rule that good faith is always presumed and bad faith must be
appearances, by praying for various affirmative reliefs, and by actively proved.[72]
participating during the course of the proceedings below.
In sum, considering the fact that the RTC of General Santos City and
In line herewith, this Court, in Meat Packing Corporation of the the RTC of Davao City have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
Philippines v. Sandiganbayan,[68] held that jurisdiction over the person of the amended complaints filed by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., and that the
defendant in civil cases is acquired either by his voluntary appearance in court courts a quo have also acquired jurisdiction over the persons of all the
and his submission to its authority or by service of summons. Furthermore, the defendant companies, it therefore, behooves this Court to order the remand of
active participation of a party in the proceedings is tantamount to an invocation Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96 to the RTC of General Santos City and
of the courts jurisdiction and a willingness to abide by the resolution of the the RTC of Davao City, respectively.
case, and will bar said party from later on impugning the court or bodys On the issue of the
jurisdiction.[69] dropping of DOW,
Thus, the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City as respondents in view of
have validly acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the defendant their amicable settlement
companies, as well as over the subject matter of the instant case. What is with NAVIDA, et al., and
more, this jurisdiction, which has been acquired and has been vested on the ABELLA, et al.
courts a quo,continues until the termination of the proceedings.

It may also be pertinently stressed that jurisdiction is different from the exercise NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., are further praying that DOW,
of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the authority to decide a case, not the OCCIDENTAL and SHELL be dropped as respondents in G.R. Nos. 125078
orders or the decision rendered therein. Accordingly, where a court has and 126654, as well as in Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96. The non-
settling defendants allegedly manifested that they intended to file their cross- respectively, the Court deems that the Consolidated Motions (to Drop Party-
claims against their co-defendants who entered into compromise Respondents) filed by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., should likewise be
agreements. NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., argue that the non-settling referred to the said trial courts for appropriate disposition.
defendants did not aver any cross-claim in their answers to the complaint and
that they subsequently sought to amend their answers to plead their cross- Under Article 2028 of the Civil Code, [a] compromise is a contract whereby the
claims only after the settlement between the plaintiff claimants and DOW, parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to
OCCIDENTAL, and SHELL were executed. NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et one already commenced. Like any other contract, an extrajudicial compromise
al., therefore, assert that the cross-claims are already barred. agreement is not excepted from rules and principles of a contract. It is a
consensual contract, perfected by mere consent, the latter being manifested
In their Memoranda, CHIQUITA and DOLE are opposing the above by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause
motion of NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., since the latters Amended which are to constitute the contract.[76] Judicial approval is not required for its
Complaints cited several instances of tortious conduct that were allegedly perfection.[77] A compromise has upon the parties the effect and authority
committed jointly and severally by the defendant companies. This solidary of res judicata[78] and this holds true even if the agreement has not been
obligation on the part of all the defendants allegedly gives any co-defendant judicially approved.[79] In addition, as a binding contract, a compromise
the statutory right to proceed against the other co-defendants for the payment agreement determines the rights and obligations of only the parties to it.[80]
of their respective shares. Should the subject motion of NAVIDA, et al., and
ABELLA, et al., be granted, and the Court subsequently orders the remand of In light of the foregoing legal precepts, the RTC of General Santos City and
the action to the trial court for continuance, CHIQUITA and DOLE would the RTC of Davao City should first receive in evidence and examine all of the
allegedly be deprived of their right to prosecute their cross-claims against their alleged compromise settlements involved in the cases at bar to determine the
other co-defendants. Moreover, a third party complaint or a separate trial, propriety of dropping any party as a defendant therefrom.
according to CHIQUITA, would only unduly delay and complicate the
proceedings.CHIQUITA and DOLE similarly insist that the motion of The Court notes that the Consolidated Motions (to Drop Party-
NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., to drop DOW, SHELL and OCCIDENTAL Respondents) that was filed by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., only
as respondents in G.R. Nos. 125078 and 126654, as well as in Civil Case Nos. pertained to DOW, OCCIDENTAL and SHELL in view of the latter companies
5617 and 24,251-96, be denied. alleged compromise agreements with the plaintiff claimants. However, in
subsequent developments, DEL MONTE and CHIQUITA supposedly reached
Incidentally, on April 2, 2007, after the parties have submitted their their own amicable settlements with the plaintiff claimants, but DEL MONTE
respective memoranda, DEL MONTE filed a Manifestation and qualified that it entered into a settlement agreement with only four of the
Motion[73] before the Court, stating that similar settlement agreements were plaintiff claimants in Civil Case No. 5617. These four plaintiff claimants were
allegedly executed by the plaintiff claimants with DEL MONTE and CHIQUITA allegedly the only ones who were asserting claims against DEL
sometime in 1999. Purportedly included in the agreements were Civil Case MONTE. However, the said allegation of DEL MONTE was simply stipulated
Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96. Attached to the said manifestation were copies of in their Compromise Settlement, Indemnity, and Hold Harmless Agreement
the Compromise Settlement, Indemnity, and Hold Harmless Agreement and its truth could not be verified with certainty based on the records elevated
between DEL MONTE and the settling plaintiffs, as well as the Release in Full to this Court.Significantly, the 336 plaintiff claimants in Civil Case No. 5617
executed by the latter.[74] DEL MONTE specified therein that there were only jointly filed a complaint without individually specifying their claims against DEL
four (4) plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5617 who are claiming against the Del Monte MONTE or any of the other defendant companies. Furthermore, not one
parties[75] and that the latter have executed amicable settlements which plaintiff claimant filed a motion for the removal of either DEL MONTE or
completely satisfied any claims against DEL MONTE. In accordance with the CHIQUITA as defendants in Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96.
alleged compromise agreements with the four plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5617,
DEL MONTE sought the dismissal of the Amended Joint-Complaint in the said There is, thus, a primary need to establish who the specific parties to
civil case.Furthermore, in view of the above settlement agreements with the alleged compromise agreements are, as well as their corresponding rights
ABELLA, et al., in Civil Case No. 24,251-96, DEL MONTE stated that it no and obligations therein. For this purpose, the courts a quo may require the
longer wished to pursue its petition in G.R. No. 127856 and accordingly prayed presentation of additional evidence from the parties. Thereafter, on the basis
that it be allowed to withdraw the same. of the records of the cases at bar and the additional evidence submitted by the
Having adjudged that Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96 should be parties, if any, the trial courts can then determine who among the defendants
remanded to the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City, may be dropped from the said cases.
another defendant. If and when such a cross-claim is made by a non-settling
It is true that, under Article 2194 of the Civil Code, the responsibility of defendant against a settling defendant, it is within the discretion of the trial
two or more persons who are liable for the same quasi-delict is solidary. A court to determine the propriety of allowing such a cross-claim and if the
solidary obligation is one in which each of the debtors is liable for the entire settling defendant must remain a party to the case purely in relation to the
obligation, and each of the creditors is entitled to demand the satisfaction of cross claim.
the whole obligation from any or all of the debtors.[81]
In Armed Forces of the Philippines Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. v.
In solidary obligations, the paying debtors right of reimbursement is Court of Appeals,[84] the Court had the occasion to state that where there are,
provided for under Article 1217 of the Civil Code, to wit: along with the parties to the compromise, other persons involved in the
litigation who have not taken part in concluding the compromise agreement
Art. 1217. Payment made by one of the solidary but are adversely affected or feel prejudiced thereby, should not be precluded
debtors extinguishes the obligation. If two or more solidary from invoking in the same proceedings an adequate relief therefor.[85]
debtors offer to pay, the creditor may choose which offer to
accept. Relevantly, in Philippine International Surety Co., Inc. v.
Gonzales,[86] the Court upheld the ruling of the trial court that, in a joint and
He who made the payment may claim from his co- solidary obligation, the paying debtor may file a third-party complaint and/or a
debtors only the share which corresponds to each, with the cross-claim to enforce his right to seek contribution from his co-debtors.
interest for the payment already made. If the payment is made
before the debt is due, no interest for the intervening period Hence, the right of the remaining defendant(s) to seek reimbursement
may be demanded. in the above situation, if proper, is not affected by the compromise agreements
allegedly entered into by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., with some of the
When one of the solidary debtors cannot, because of defendant companies.
his insolvency, reimburse his share to the debtor paying the
obligation, such share shall be borne by all his co-debtors, in WHEREFORE, the Court hereby GRANTS the petitions for review
proportion to the debt of each. on certiorari in G.R. Nos. 125078, 126654, and
128398. We REVERSE and SET ASIDE the Order dated May 20, 1996 of the
Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 37, in Civil Case No. 5617,
The above right of reimbursement of a paying debtor, and the and the Order dated October 1, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City,
corresponding liability of the co-debtors to reimburse, will only arise, however, Branch 16, and its subsequent Order dated December 16, 1996 denying
if a solidary debtor who is made to answer for an obligation actually delivers reconsideration in Civil Case No. 24,251-96, and REMAND the records of this
payment to the creditor. As succinctly held in Lapanday Agricultural case to the respective Regional Trial Courts of origin for further and
Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals,[82] [p]ayment, which means not appropriate proceedings in line with the ruling herein that said courts have
only the delivery of money but also the performance, in any other manner, of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the amended complaints in Civil Case
the obligation, is the operative fact which will entitle either of the solidary Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96.
debtors to seek reimbursement for the share which corresponds to each of the
[other] debtors.[83] The Court likewise GRANTS the motion filed by Del Monte to
withdraw its petition in G.R. No. 127856. In view of the previous grant of the
In the cases at bar, there is no right of reimbursement to speak motion to withdraw the petition in G.R. No. 125598, both G.R. Nos. 127856
of as yet. A trial on the merits must necessarily be conducted first in and 125598 are considered CLOSED AND TERMINATED.
order to establish whether or not defendant companies are liable for the
claims for damages filed by the plaintiff claimants, which would
necessarily give rise to an obligation to pay on the part of the

At the point in time where the proceedings below were prematurely

halted, no cross-claims have been interposed by any defendant against
18. Araneta v. De Joya (57 SCRA 59) On August 23, 1954 the Ace Advertising filed a complaint with the court of first
instance of Manila against the respondent for recovery of the total sum
disbursed to Taylor, alleging that the trip was made without its knowledge,
G.R. No. L-25172 May 24, 1974 authority or ratification. The respondent, in his answer, denied the charge and
claimed that the trip was nonetheless ratified by the company's board of
LUIS MA. ARANETA, petitioner, directors, and that in any event under the by-laws he had the discretion, as
vs. general manager, to authorize the trip which was for the company's benefit..
ANTONIO R. DE JOYA, respondent.
A 3rd-party complaint was also filed by the respondent against Vicente
Araneta, Mendoza & Papa for petitioner. Araneta, the petitioner and Ricardo Taylor. The respondent proved that
Vicente Araneta, as treasurer of the firm, signed a check representing the
company's share of the transportation expense of Taylor to the United States,
Jose F. Espinosa for respondent. and that a series of payroll checks from September 15, 1953 to December 31,
1953, inclusive, which included the salaries of Taylor, was signed by Vicente
Araneta and the petitioner who is a vice-president of the company. Both
Aranetas disowned any personal liability, claiming that they signed the checks
CASTRO, J.:p in good faith as they were approved by the respondent..

Petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. 34277-R On April 13, 1964 the trial court rendered judgment ordering the respondent to
ordering Luis Ma. Araneta (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner) to pay the Ace Advertising "the sum of P5,043.20 with interest at the legal rate
indemnify Antonio R. de Joya (hereinafter referred to as the respondent) for from August 23, 1954 until full payment," and dismissing the 3rd-party
one-third of the sum of P5,043.20 which the latter was adjudged to pay the complaint.
Ace Advertising Agency, Inc., the plaintiff in the recovery suit below.
The respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which on August 2, 1965,
Sometime in November 1952 the respondent, then general manager of the rendered a decision affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the Ace
Ace Advertising, proposed to the board of directors1 that an employee, Ricardo Advertising but reversing the dismissal of the 3rd-party complaint. The
Taylor, be sent to the United States to take up special studies in television. appellate court found as a fact that Taylor's trip had been neither authorized
The board, however, failed to act on the proposal. Nevertheless, in September nor ratified by the company.
1953 the respondent sent Taylor abroad. J. Antonio Araneta, a company
director, inquired about the trip and was assured by the respondent that The appellate court's full statement of its categorical and unequivocal findings
Taylor's expenses would be defrayed not by the company but by other parties. of fact on the nature and extent of the participation of the petitioner as well as
This was thereafter confirmed by the respondent in a memorandum. Vicente Araneta is hereunder quoted:

While abroad, from September 1, 1953 to March 15, 1954, Taylor continued The evidence not only is clear, but is even not disputed at all
to receive his salaries. The items corresponding to his salaries appeared in by Vicente and Luis Araneta who neither of them took the
vouchers prepared upon the orders of, and approved by, the respondent and witness stand to refute appellant's evidence, that as
were included in the semi-monthly payroll checks for the employees of the to Vicente it was to him that appellant first broached the
corporation. The petitioner signed three of these checks on November 27, subject-matter of sending Taylor to America, that Vicente
December 15 and December 29, 1953. The others were signed by either the Araneta evinced unusual interest, and went to the extent of
respondent, or Vicente Araneta (company treasurer) who put up part of the bill entrusting Taylor with letters for delivery to certain principals
connected with Taylor's trip and also handed him letters for delivery in the of Gregorio Araneta, Inc. in the United States, and he even
United States. The Ace Advertising disbursed P5,043.20, all told, on account signed the check for P105.20 to cover expenses for his tax
of Taylor's travel and studies. clearance, documentary stamps and passport fees, in
connection with the trip, on 8 September, 1953, and then on
5 October, 1953, still another check for P868.00 which was
half the amount for his plane ticket; and as to Luis Araneta, it Teehankee, J., took no part.
not at all being disputed that when Taylor was already in
America, his salaries while abroad were paid on vouchers and
checks signed either by him or by Vicente, or by appellant
himself; because of all these, the conclusion is forced upon
this Court that it could not but have been but that both Vicente
and Luis were informed and gave their approval to Taylor's
trip, and to the payment of his trip expenses and salaries
during his absence, from corporate funds; if this was the case
as it was, there can be no question but that they two were also
privy to the unauthorized disbursement of the corporate
moneys jointly with the appellant; what had happened was in
truth and in fact a venture by them given their stamp of
approval; and as it was an unauthorized act of expenditure of
corporate funds, and it was these three without whose acts
the same could not have happened, the juridical situation was
a simple quasi-delict by them committed upon the corporation,
for which solidary liability should have been imposed upon all
in the first place, Art. 2194, New Civil Code; and only De Joya
having been sued and made liable by the corporation, it was
the right of the latter to ask that his two joint tortfeasors be
made to shoulder their proportional responsibility. (emphasis

The basic legal issue is whether the petitioner is guilty of a quasi-delict as held

It is our view, and we so hold, that the judgment of the Court of Appeals should
be upheld. The petitioner's assertion that he signed the questioned payroll
checks in good faith has not been substantiated, he in particular not having
testified or offered testimony to prove such claim. Upon the contrary, in spite
of his being a vice-president and director of the Ace Advertising, the petitioner
remained passive, throughout the period of Taylor's stay abroad, concerning
the unauthorized disbursements of corporate funds for the latter. This plus the
fact that he even approved thrice payroll checks for the payment of Taylor's
salary, demonstrate quite distinctly that the petitioner neglected to perform his
duties properly, to the damage of the firm of which he was an officer. The fact
that he was occupying a contractual position at the Ace Advertising is of no
moment. The existence of a contract between the parties, as has been
repeatedly held by this Court, constitutes no bar to the commission of a tort by
one against the other and the consequent recovery of damages.2

ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed, at

petitioner's cost.

Makalintal, C.J., Makasiar, Esguerra and Muñoz Palma, JJ., concur.