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TORTS the necessary precautions to avoid danger from a train approaching him from

US vs. Bonifacio


Bonifacio was an engineer and was conducting the heavy freight train one
morning in Batangas. The train had just rounded a curve when Bonifacio saw
a man (Eligio Castillo) walking along the railroad track. The former immediately
blew his whistle twice; unknown to him, Castillo was a deaf-mute. Noticing that
Castillo did not step aside from the track, Bonifacio tried to slow down the
engine, but did not succeed in stopping in time to avoid running down the
pedestrian, who, about that time, turned and attempted to cross the track.

Bonifacio was charged in the trial court with homicide committed with reckless
negligence and he was convicted of homicide committed with simple


Whether or not Bonifacio is liable for the death of Castillo.


He is not liable.

There is no obligation on an engine driver to stop, or even to slow down his

engine, when he sees an adult pedestrian standing or walking on or near the
track, unless there is something in the appearance or conduct of the person
on foot which would cause a prudent man to anticipate the possibility that such
person could not, or would not avoid the possibility of danger by stepping
aside. Ordinarily, all that may properly be required of an engine driver under
such circumstances is that he give warning of his approach, by blowing his
whistle or ringing his bell until he is assured that the attention of the pedestrian
has been attracted to the oncoming train.

An engine driver may fairly assume that all persons walking or standing on or
near the railroad track, except children of tender years, are aware of the
danger to which they are exposed; and that they will take reasonable
precautions to avoid accident, by looking and listening for the approach of
trains, and stepping out of the way of danger when their attention is directed
to an oncoming train. Any other rule would render it impracticable to operate
railroads so as to secure the expeditious transportation of passengers and
freight which the public interest demands.

Bonifacio was without fault; and that the accident must be attributed wholly to
the reckless negligence of the deaf-mute, in walking on the track without taking
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may
Civil Aeronautics Administration v. CA be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that
reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent man would have used in the
same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts
the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet
paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of the negligence in a given case is
not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation
Ernest E. Simke, a naturalized Filipino citizen, was Honorary Consul General of Israel
before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in
in the Philippines. He went to Manila International Airport to meet his future son-in-
the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
law. As the plane was landing, he and his companions went to the viewing deck to
watch the arrival of the plane. While walking, Simke slipped on an elevation 4 inches
The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given
high and fell on his back, breaking his thigh bone in the process. He underwent a 3-
situation must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and
hour operation and after recovery he filed a claim for damages against the Civil
in view of the facts involved in the particular case. Abstract speculations cannot be
Aeronautics Administration (CAA), which was the government entity in charge of the
here of much value but this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men-overn their
conduct by the circumstances which are before them or known to them. They are not,
and are not supposed to be omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to
take care only when there is something before them to suggest or warn of danger.
Could a prudent man, in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the
course actually pursued' If so, it was the duty of the actor to take precautions to guard
o Whether or not CAA was negligent
against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the
suggestion born of this prevision, is always necessary before negligence can be held
to exist.... [Picart v. Smith, supra, p. 813]
CAA contended that the elevation in question "had a legitimate purpose for being on
The private respondent, who was the plaintiff in the case before the lower court, could
the terrace and was never intended to trip down people and injure them. It was there
not have reasonably foreseen the harm that would befall him, considering the
for no other purpose but to drain water on the floor area of the terrace."
attendant factual circumstances. Even if the private respondent had been looking
where he was going, the step in question could not easily be noticed because of its
But upon ocular inspection by the trial court, it was found that the terrace was in poor
condition. Under RA 776, the CAA is charged with the duty of planning, designing,
constructing, equipping, expanding, maintenance...etc. of the Manila International "WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error, the Petition for review on certiorari is
DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 51172-R is
Responsibility of CAA

The SC held that pursuant to Art. 1173, "the fault or negligence of the obligor consists
in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and
corresponds with the circumstances of the person, of the time, and of the place."
Here, the obligation of the CAA in maintaining the viewing deck, a facility open to the
public, requires that CAA insure the safety of the viewers using it. As these people
come to look to where the planes and the incoming passengers are and not to look
down on the floor or pavement of the viewing deck, the CAA should have thus made
sure that no dangerous obstructions or elevations exist on the floor of the deck to
prevent any undue harm to the public.

Contributory Negligence

Under Art. 2179, contributory negligence contemplates a negligent act or omission on

the part of the plaintiff, which although not the proximate cause of his injury,
CONTRIBUTED to his own damage. The Court found no contributory negligence on
the part of the plaintiff, considering the following test formulated in the early case of
Picart v. Smith, 37 Phil. 809 (1918):
Preciolita V. Corliss v. Manila Railroad Co. In addition, the Court reiterated the ruling the case of U.S. v. Manabat & Pasibi: “…we think
FACTS it is incumbent upon one approaching a railroad crossing to use all of his faculties of seeing and
hearing. He should approach a railroad crossing cautiously and carefully. He should look and
The instant case is an appeal on the decision of the lower court dismissing Preciolita Corliss’ listen and do everything that a reasonably prudent man would do before he attempts to cross the
complaint for recovery of damages against Manila Railroad Co. track."

On the evening of February 21, 1957, at the railroad crossing in Balibago, Pampanga in front of Clark NOTES
Air Force Base, the husband of Preciolia, Ralph Corliss, an air police, was driving a jeep, together with
a P.C. soldier, to the Clark base to return said jeep. Said jeep Ralph was driving collided with a Witnesses:
locomotive of Manila Railroad. Ralph died of serious burns in the base hospital the next day.
Ronald J. Ennis
Preciolita filed a complaint for recovery of damages against Manila Railroad. The lower court, however,
ruled in favor of Manila Railroad. The lower court opined that Ralph was a victim of his own wrongdoing - a witness of the plaintiff.
and miscalculation when he took the risk and attempted to beat the oncoming locomotive and aiming to
reach the other side of the railroad crossing before said locomotive could pass the jeep by. Hence, the - he said that at the time of the accident, he also awaiting transportation at the entrance of Clark Field,
present case. which was about 40 to 50 yards away from the tracks and that while there he saw the jeep coming
towards the Base. He said that said jeep slowed down before reaching the crossing, Elaborating, he
ISSUE: Whether or not there is negligence on the part of Manila Railroad and therefore, should be declared that while it was slowing down, Corliss Jr. shifted into first gear and that was what he meant
held liable for damages - NO by a brief stop.


The Court ruled that the present action is predicated on negligence, the Civil Code making clear that Virgilio de la Paz
whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being negligence, is under obligation to pay
for the damage done. - another witness of the plaintiff.

The Court cited the cases of U.S. v. Juanillo and U.S. v. Barias in defining what is negligence: “The - he was at the Balibago checkpoint and saw the train coming from Angeles and a jeep going towards
failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, the direction of Clark Field. He stated that he heard the whistle of the locomotive and saw the
precaution and vigilance which the circumstance justly demand whereby such other person suffers collision. The jeep, which caught fire, was pushed forward. He helped the P.C. soldier. He stated that
injury.” he saw the jeep running fast and heard the tooting of the horn. It did not stop at the railroad crossing,
according to him." 4
Also cited was case of Ahern v. Oregon Telephone Co. which defined Negligence as: “want of the care
required by the circumstances. It is a relative or comparative, not an absolute term and its application
depends upon the situation of the parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances
reasonably require. Where the danger is great, a high degree of care is necessary, and the failure to Teodorico Capili,
observe it is a want of ordinary care under the circumstances.”
- one who operated the locomotive.
In determining the presence of negligence, the court explained that every case must be dependent on its
facts. The circumstances indicative of lack of due care must be judged in the light of what could - testified that before the locomotive, which had been previously inspected and found to be in good
reasonably be expected of the parties. If the objective standard of prudence be met, then negligence is condition approached, the crossing, that is, about 300 meters away, he blew the siren and repeated it in
ruled out. compliance with the regulations until he saw the jeep suddenly spurt and that although the locomotive
was running between 20 and 25 kilometers an hour and although he had applied the brakes, the jeep
In the present case, it is improper to impute negligence on Manila Railroad since material facts was caught in the middle of the tracks."
show that it is clear that Ralph Corliss was so sufficiently warned in advance (the lower court
pointed out that moments before the collision, Teodorico Capili who was manning the locomotive
which was then 300 meters away from exact point of accident, blew the siren and repeated it in
compliance with the regulation) of the oncoming train that it was incumbent upon him to avoid a
possible accident — and this consisted simply in stopping his vehicle before the crossing and
allowing the train to move on.

A prudent man under similar circumstances would have acted in such a manner, but unfortunately, Ralph
had failed to do so despite him having been crossing the checkpoint frequently, if not daily and must
have been aware that locomotive engines and trains usually pass at that particular crossing where the
accident had taken place.
Cusi v. PNR Lucena was on an unscheduled trip after 11:00 P.M. During that precise hour,
the warning devices were not operating for no one attended to them.
Also, as observed by the lower court, the locomotive driver did not blow his
• Spouses Cusi attended a birthday party in Paranaque, Rizal. After the party whistle, thus: "... he simply sped on without taking an extra precaution of
which broke up at about 11 o'clock that evening, the spouses proceeded home blowing his whistle.
in their Vauxhall car with Victorino Cusi at the wheel. Upon reaching the
railroad tracks, finding that the level crossing bar was raised and seeing that That the train was running at full speed is attested to by the fact that
there was no flashing red light, and hearing no whistle from any coming train, notwithstanding the application of the emergency brakes, the train did not stop
Cusi proceeded to cross the tracks. At the same time, a train bound for Lucena until it reached a distance of around 100 meters."
traversed the crossing, resulting in a collision between the two.
• Victorino Cusi had exercised all the necessary precautions required of him
• This accident caused the spouses to suffer deformities and to lose the as to avoid injury to -himself and to others. We find no need for him to have
earnings they used to enjoy as successful career people. made a full stop; relying on his faculties of sight and hearing, Victorino Cusi
had no reason to anticipate the impending danger
• The defense is centered on the proposition that the gross negligence of
Victorino Cusi was the proximate cause of the collision; that had he made a • The record shows that the spouses Cusi previously knew of the existence of
full stop before traversing the crossing as required by section 56(a) of Act 3992 the railroad crossing, having stopped at the guardhouse to ask for directions
(Motor Vehicle Law), he could have seen and heard the approach of the train, before proceeding to the party. At the crossing, they found the level bar raised,
and thus, there would have been no collision. no warning lights flashing nor warning bells ringing, nor whistle from an
oncoming train. They safely traversed the crossing.
ISSUES: W/N Victorino Cusi was negligent and such was the proximate cause
of the collision On their return home, the situation at the crossing did not in the least change,
except for the absence of the guard or flagman. Hence, on the same
Ruling: No. impression that the crossing was safe for passage as before, Victorino Cusi
merely slackened his speed and proceeded to cross the tracks, driving at the
• Negligence has been defined by Judge Cooley in his work on Torts as "the proper rate of speed for going over railroad crossings.
failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that
degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly
demand, whereby such other person suffers injury."

• All that the law requires is that it is always incumbent upon a person to use
that care and diligence expected of reasonable men under similar

• In this case, the warning devices installed at the railroad crossing were
manually operated; there were only 2 shifts of guards provided for the
operation thereof — one, the 7:00 A.M. to 3:00 P. M. shift, and the other,
the3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. shift. On the night of the accident, the train for
THE CONSOLIDATED BANK and TRUST CORPORATION vs. COURT OF APPEALS and L.C. DIAZ Yes. Solidbank is liable for breach of contract due to negligence, or culpa contractual.
The contract between the bank and its depositor is governed by the provisions of the Civil Code
and COMPANY, CPA’s on simple loan. Article 1980 of the Civil Code expressly provides that “x x x savings x x x deposits
of money in banks and similar institutions shall be governed by the provisions concerning
simple loan.” There is a debtor-creditor relationship between the bank and its depositor. The
FACT: bank is the debtor and the depositor is the creditor. The depositor lends the bank money and
Petitioner Solidbank is a domestic banking corporation organized and existing under the bank agrees to pay the depositor on demand. The savings deposit agreement between the
Philippine laws. Private respondent L.C. Diaz and Company, CPA’s, is a professional bank and the depositor is the contract that determines the rights and obligations of the parties.
partnership engaged in the practice of accounting.
In March 1976, L.C. Diaz opened a savings account with Solidbank. On 14 August 1991, L.C.
Diaz through its cashier, Mercedes Macaraya, filled up a savings (cash) deposit slip for P990 The law imposes on banks high standards in view of the fiduciary nature of banking. The bank
and a savings (checks) deposit slip for P50. Macaraya instructed the messenger of L.C. Diaz, is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with meticulous care, always having
Ismael Calapre, to deposit the money with Solidbank. Macaraya also gave Calapre the in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship.
Solidbank passbook.

This fiduciary relationship means that the bank’s obligation to observe “high standards of
Calapre went to Solidbank and presented to Teller No. 6 the two deposit slips and the integrity and performance” is deemed written into every deposit agreement between a bank
passbook. The teller acknowledged the receipt of the deposit by returning to Calapre the and its depositor. The fiduciary nature of banking requires banks to assume a degree of
duplicate copies of the two deposit slips. Teller No. 6 stamped the deposit slips with the words diligence higher than that of a good father of a family. Article 1172 of the Civil Code states that
“DUPLICATE” and “SAVING TELLER 6 SOLIDBANK HEAD OFFICE.” Since the transaction took the degree of diligence required of an obligor is that prescribed by law or contract, and absent
time and Calapre had to make another deposit for L.C. Diaz with Allied Bank, he left the such stipulation then the diligence of a good father of a family. Section 2 of RA 8791 prescribes
passbook with Solidbank. Calapre then went to Allied Bank. When Calapre returned to the statutory diligence required from banks – that banks must observe “high standards of
Solidbank to retrieve the passbook, Teller No. 6 informed him that “somebody got the integrity and performance” in servicing their depositors.
passbook.” Calapre went back to L.C. Diaz and reported the incident to Macaraya.

However, the fiduciary nature of a bank-depositor relationship does not convert the contract
Macaraya immediately prepared a deposit slip in duplicate copies with a check of P200,000. between the bank and its depositors from a simple loan to a trust agreement, whether express
Macaraya and Calapre went to Solidbank and presented to Teller No. 6 the deposit slip and or implied. Failure by the bank to pay the depositor is failure to pay a simple loan, and not a
check. The teller stamped the words “DUPLICATE” and “SAVING TELLER 6 SOLIDBANK HEAD breach of trust. The law simply imposes on the bank a higher standard of integrity and
OFFICE” on the duplicate copy of the deposit slip. When Macaraya asked for the passbook, performance in complying with its obligations under the contract of simple loan, beyond those
Teller No. 6 told Macaraya that someone got the passbook but she could not remember to required of non-bank debtors under a similar contract of simple loan.
whom she gave the passbook. When Macaraya asked Teller No. 6 if Calapre got the passbook,
Teller No. 6 answered that someone shorter than Calapre got the passbook. Calapre was then
standing beside Macaraya. The fiduciary nature of banking does not convert a simple loan into a trust agreement because
banks do not accept deposits to enrich depositors but to earn money for themselves.

The following day L.C. Diaz learned of the unauthorized withdrawal the day before (14 August
1991) of P300,000 from its Solidbank’s Breach of its Contractual Obligation
savings account. The withdrawal slip for the P300,000 bore the signatures of the authorized Article 1172 of the Civil Code provides that “responsibility arising from negligence in the
signatories of L.C. Diaz, namely Diaz and Rustico L. Murillo. The signatories, however, denied performance of every kind of obligation is demandable.” For breach of the savings deposit
signing the withdrawal slip. A certain Noel Tamayo received the P300,000. agreement due to negligence, or culpa contractual, the bank is liable to its depositor.

L.C. Diaz demanded from Solidbank the return of its money. Solidbank refused. L.C. Diaz filed a Calapre left the passbook with Solidbank because the “transaction took time” and he had to go
Complaint for Recovery of a Sum of Money against Solidbank. The trial court absolved to Allied Bank for another transaction. The passbook was still in the hands of the employees of
Solidbank. L.C. Diaz appealed to the CA. CA reversed the ecision of the trial court. CA denied Solidbank for the processing of the deposit when Calapre left Solidbank. When the passbook is
the motion for reconsideration of Solidbank. But it modified its decision by deleting the award in the possession of Solidbank’s tellers during withdrawals, the law imposes on Solidbank and
of exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. Hence this petition. its tellers an even higher degree of diligence in safeguarding the passbook.

ISSUE: Solidbank’s tellers must exercise a high degree of diligence in insuring that they return the
WON petitioner Solidbank is liable. passbook only to the depositor or his authorized representative. For failing to return the
passbook to Calapre, the authorized representative of L.C. Diaz, Solidbank and Teller No. 6 negligence of the defendant, who had the last fair chance to prevent the impending harm by
presumptively failed to observe such high degree of diligence in safeguarding the passbook, and the exercise of due diligence.
in insuring its return to the party authorized to receive the same.

We do not apply the doctrine of last clear chance to the present case. This is a case of culpa
In culpa contractual, once the plaintiff proves a breach of contract, there is a presumption that contractual, where neither the contributory negligence of the plaintiff nor his last clear chance
the defendant was at fault or negligent. The burden is on the defendant to prove that he was not to avoid the loss, would exonerate the defendant from liability. Such contributory negligence or
at fault or negligent. In contrast, in culpa aquiliana the plaintiff has the burden of proving that last clear chance by the plaintiff merely serves to reduce the recovery of damages by the plaintiff
the defendant was negligent. In the present case, L.C. Diaz has established that Solidbank but does not exculpate the defendant from his breach of contract
breached its contractual obligation to return the passbook only to the authorized
representative of L.C. Diaz. There is thus a presumption that Solidbank was at fault and its teller
was negligent in not returning the passbook to Calapre. The burden was on Solidbank to prove Mitigated Damages
that there was no negligence on its part or its employees. But Solidbank failed to discharge its Under Article 1172, “liability (for culpa contractual) may be regulated by the courts, according
burden. Solidbank did not present to the trial court Teller No. 6, the teller with whom Calapre to the circumstances.” This means that if the defendant exercised the proper diligence in the
left the passbook and who was supposed to return the passbook to him. Solidbank also failed to selection and supervision of its employee, or if the plaintiff was guilty of contributory
adduce in evidence its standard procedure in verifying the identity of the person retrieving the negligence, then the courts may reduce the award of damages. In this case, L.C. Diaz was guilty
passbook, if there is such a procedure, and that Teller No. 6 implemented this procedure in the of contributory negligence in allowing a withdrawal slip signed by its authorized signatories
present case. to fall into the hands of an impostor. Thus, the liability of Solidbank should be reduced. In PBC
v. CA where the Court held the depositor guilty of contributory negligence, we allocated the
damages between the depositor and the bank on a 40-60 ratio. Applying the same ruling to
Solidbank is bound by the negligence of its employees under the principle of respondeat this case, we hold that L.C. Diaz must shoulder 40% of the actual damages awarded by the
superior or command responsibility. The defense of exercising the required diligence in the appellate court. Solidbank must pay the other 60% of the actual damages.
selection and supervision of employees is not a complete defense in culpa contractual, unlike in
culpa aquiliana. The bank must not only exercise “high standards of integrity and performance,”
it must also insure that its employees do likewise because this is the only way to insure that the
bank will comply with its fiduciary duty

Proximate Cause of the Unauthorized Withdrawal

Proximate cause is that cause which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury and without which the result would not have
occurred. Proximate cause is determined by the facts of each case upon mixed considerations
of logic, common sense, policy and precedent.

L.C. Diaz was not at fault that the passbook landed in the hands of the impostor. Solidbank was
in possession of the passbook while it was processing the deposit. After completion of the
transaction, Solidbank had the contractual obligation to return the passbook only to Calapre,
the authorized representative of L.C. Diaz. Solidbank failed to fulfill its contractual obligation
because it gave the passbook to another person.

Had the passbook not fallen into the hands of the impostor, the loss of P300,000 would not have
happened. Thus, the proximate cause of the unauthorized withdrawal was Solidbank’s
negligence in not returning the passbook to Calapre.

Doctrine of Last Clear Chance

The doctrine of last clear chance states that where both parties are negligent but the negligent
act of one is appreciably later than that of the other, or where it is impossible to determine
whose fault or negligence caused the loss, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid
the loss but failed to do so, is chargeable with the loss. The antecedent negligence of the
plaintiff does not preclude him from recovering damages caused by the supervening
FAR EAST SHIPPING CO V CA (PPA) by force majeure or natural calamities provided he has exercised prudence and
extra diligence to prevent or minimize damage.
The Master shall retain overall command of the vessel even on pilotage grounds
- On June 20, 1980, the M/V PAVLODAR, flying under the flagship of the
USSR, owned and operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESC), arrived at whereby he can countermand or overrule the order or command of the Harbor Pilot
the Port of Manila from Vancouver, British Columbia at about 7:00 o'clock in the on board. In such event, any damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at
morning. The vessel was assigned Berth 4 of the Manila International Port, as its ports by reason of the fault or negligence of the Master shall be the responsibility
berthing space. Captain Roberto Abellana was tasked by the Philippine Port Authority and liability of the registered owner of the vessel concerned without prejudice to
to supervise the berthing of the vessel. Appellant Senen Gavino was assigned by the recourse against said Master
Appellant Manila Pilots' Association (MPA) to conduct docking maneuvers for the safe
berthing of the vessel to Berth No. 4.
Such liability of the owner or Master of the vessel or its pilots shall be
- Gavino boarded the vessel at the quarantine anchorage and stationed himself
in the bridge, with the master of the vessel, Victor Kavankov, beside him. After a determined by competent authority in appropriate proceedings in the light of the
briefing of Gavino by Kavankov of the particulars of the vessel and its cargo, the vessel facts and circumstances of each particular case.
lifted anchor from the quarantine anchorage and proceeded to the Manila International
Port. The sea was calm and the wind was ideal for docking maneuvers. - When the SEC. 32. Duties and responsibilities of the Pilot or Pilots' Association. — The
vessel reached the landmark (the big church by the Tondo North Harbor) one-half mile duties and responsibilities of the Harbor Pilot shall be as follows: xxx
from the pier, Gavino ordered the engine stopped. When the vessel was already about xxx xxx
2,000 feet from the pier, Gavino ordered the anchor dropped. Kavankov relayed the
orders to the crew of the vessel on the bow. The left anchor, with 2 shackles, were
f) a pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he
dropped. However, the anchor did not take hold as expected. The speed of the vessel
did not slacken. A commotion ensued between the crew members. A brief conference assumes his work as a pilot thereof until he leaves it anchored or berthed safely;
ensued between Kavankov and the crew members. When Gavino inquired what was Provided, however, that his responsibility shall cease at the moment the Master
all the commotion about, Kavankov assured Gavino that there was nothing to it. - After neglects or refuses to carry out his order.
Gavino noticed that the anchor did not take hold, he ordered the engines half-astern.
Abellana, who was then on the pier apron noticed that the vessel was approaching the - Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 issued twenty years earlier likewise
pier fast. Kavankov likewise noticed that the anchor did not take hold. Gavino thereafter provided in Chapter I thereof for the responsibilities of pilots:
gave the "full-astern" code. Before the right anchor and additional shackles could be
dropped, the bow of the vessel rammed into the apron of the pier causing considerable
Par. XXXIX. — A Pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from
damage to the pier. The vessel sustained damage too. Kavankov filed his sea protest.
Gavino submitted his report to the Chief Pilot who referred the report to the Philippine the time he assumes control thereof until he leaves it anchored free from shoal;
Ports Authority. Abellana likewise submitted his report of the incident. - The Provided, That his responsibility shall cease at the moment the master neglects or
rehabilitation of the damaged pier cost the Philippine Ports Authority the amount of refuses to carry out his instructions.
- The Port of Manila is within the Manila Pilotage District which is under
compulsory pilotage pursuant to Section 8, Article III of Philippine Ports Authority Par. XLIV. — Pilots shall properly and safely secure or anchor vessels under
Administrative Order No. 03-85: their control when requested to do so by the master of such vessels.
SEC. 8. Compulsory Pilotage Service. — For entering a harbor and anchoring
thereat, or passing through rivers or straits within a pilotage district, as well as ISSUE WON both the pilot and the master were negligent
docking and undocking at any pier/wharf, or shifting from one berth or another,
every vessel engaged in coastwise and foreign trade shall be under compulsory HELD
pilotage. YES.

- In case of compulsory pilotage, the respective duties and responsibilities of - The SC started by saying that in a collision between a stationary object and
the compulsory pilot and the master have been specified by the same regulation: a moving object, there is a presumption of fault against the moving object (based on
SEC. 11. Control of vessels and liability for damage. — On compulsory pilotage common sense and logic). It then went on to determine who between the pilot and the
grounds, the Harbor Pilot providing the service to a vessel shall be responsible for master was negligent.
the damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at ports due to his
- A pilot, in maritime law, is a person duly qualified, and licensed, to conduct a
negligence or fault. He can only be absolved from liability if the accident is caused
vessel into or out of ports, or in certain waters. He is an expert who’s supposed to know
the seabed, etc. that a master of a ship may not know because the pilot is familiar with
the port. He is charged to perform his duties with extraordinary care because the safety
of people and property on the vessel and on the dock are at stake.
- Capt. Gavino was found to be negligent. The court found that his reaction
time (4 minutes) to the anchor not holding ground and the vessel still going too fast
was too slow. As an expert he should’ve been reacting quickly to any such happenings.
- In compulsory pilotage, the pilot momentarily becomes the master of the
vessel. The master, however may intervene or countermand the pilot if he deems there
is danger to the vessel because of the incompetence of the pilot or if the pilot is drunk.
- Based on Capt. Kavankov’s testimony, he never sensed the any danger even when
the anchor didn’t hold and they were approaching the dock too fast. He blindly trusted
the pilot. This is negligence on his part. He was right beside the pilot during the
docking, so he could see and hear everything that the pilot was seeing and hearing.
- The master’s negligence translates to unseaworthiness of the vessel, and in
turn means negligence on the part of FESC.
- As a general rule, that negligence in order to render a person liable need not
be the sole cause of an injury. It is sufficient that his negligence, concurring with one
or more efficient causes other than plaintiff's, is the proximate cause of the injury.
Accordingly, where several causes combine to produce injuries, person is not relieved
from liability because he is responsible for only one of them, it being sufficient that the
negligence of the person charged with injury is an efficient cause without which the
injury would not have resulted to as great an extent, and that such cause is not
attributable to the person injured. It is no defense to one of the concurrent tortfeasors
that the injury would not have resulted from his negligence alone, without the
negligence or wrongful acts of the other concurrent tortfeasor. Where several causes
producing an injury are concurrent and each is an efficient cause without which the
injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any of the causes
and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons although under
the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more culpable, and
that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not the same. No actor's
negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not exceed the
negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is
liable as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury. - There is no contribution
between joint tortfeasors whose liability is solidary since both of them are liable for the
total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omissions of two
or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination the direct and
proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to determine in
what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for the
whole injury. Where their concurring negligence resulted in injury or damage to a third
party, they become joint tortfeasors and are solidarily liable for the resulting damage
under Article 2194 of the Civil Code.
Disposition Petition denied. CA affirmed. Capt. Gavino and FESC are solidarily
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS to act, the whole occurrence is then humanized and removed from the rules
applicable to the acts of God.
Generally it cannot be said that damage, injury or loss is due to an act
FACTS: In the early morning hours of October 27, 1978, at the height of
of God where it was caused merely by excessive or heavy rainfall, storms and
typhoon "Kading", a massive flood covered the towns near Angat Dam,
to weather conditions which are not unusual in character, those which could
particularly the town of Norzagaray, causing several deaths and the loss and
have been reasonably anticipated or where the injury complained of is due
destruction of houses, farms, plants, working animals and other properties of
rather to the negligence or mismanagement of man than to the disturbance of
the people residing near the Angat River. Private respondents blamed the
the elements or where such damage, injury or loss might have been mitigated
sudden rush of water to the reckless and imprudent opening of all the three (3)
or prevented by diligence exercised after the occurrence.
floodgates of the Angat Dam spillway, without prior warning to the people living
near or within the vicinity of the dam. In view of these, an action for damages In the case at bar, although the typhoon "Kading" was an act of God,
was filed by respondents. The trial court ruled in favor of the latter. Likewise petitioners can not escape liability because their negligence was the proximate
the Court of Appeals affirmed with said decision. Hence, a petition for review cause of the loss and damage. The Court of Appeals found that the defendants
on certiorari was instituted by the National Power Corporation (NPC) and failed to take the necessary safeguards to prevent the danger that the Angat
Benjamin Chavez, Plant Superintendent of NPC. Dam posed in a situation of such nature as that of typhoon "Kading". The
representative of the "PAG-ASA" who testified in these proceedings, Justo
Petitioners denied private respondents' allegations and, by way of
Iglesias, Jr., stated that based on their records the rainfall on October 26 and
defense, contended that they have maintained the water in the Angat Dam at
27, 1978 is classified only as moderate, and could not have caused flash
a safe level and that the opening of the spillways was done gradually and after
floods. He testified that flash floods exceeds 50 millimeters per hour and lasts
all precautionary measures had been taken. Petitioner NPC further contended
for at least two (2) hours. He stated that typhoon "Yaning" which occurred on
that it had always exercised the diligence of a good father in the selection of
October 7 to 14, 1978 gave a much heavier rainfall than "Kading", and so did
its officials and employees and in their supervision. It also claimed that written
other previous typhoons.
warnings were earlier sent to the towns concerned, and that there was no
direct causal relationship between the alleged damages suffered by the Also, despite of the announcements of the newspaper of the expected
respondents and the acts and omissions attributed to the former. That it was occurrence of a powerful typhoon code-named "Kading", the water level in the
the respondents who assumed the risk of residing near the Angat River, and dam was maintained at its maximum from October 21, until midnight of
even assuming that respondents suffered damages, the cause was due to a October 26, 1978.
fortuitous event and such damages are of the nature and character of damnum
It has been held in several cases that when the negligence of a person
absque injuria, hence, respondents have no cause of action against them.
concurs with an act of God producing a loss, such person is not exempt from
ISSUE: Whether petitioners can escape civil liability by invoking force majeure liability by showing that the immediate cause of the damage was the act of
as the proximate cause of the loss and damage. God. To be exempt he must be free from any previous negligence or
misconduct by which the loss or damage may have been occasioned.
HELD: No. Petitioners cannot escape liability because their negligence is the
proximate cause of the loss and damage. Act of God or force majeure, by WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the Decision appealed
definition, are extraordinary events not foreseeable or avoidable, events that from, the same is hereby affirmed in toto, with cost against petitioner.
could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, are inevitable. It is therefore
not enough that the event should not have been foreseen or anticipated, as is
commonly believed, but it must be one impossible to foresee or to avoid. 7 As
a general rule, no person shall be responsible for those events which could
not be foreseen or which though foreseen, were inevitable.
However, the principle embodied in the act of God doctrine strictly
requires that the act must be occasioned solely by the violence of nature.
Human intervention is to be excluded from creating or entering into the cause
of the mischief. When the effect is found to be in part the result of the
participation of man, whether due to his active intervention or neglect or failure
SOUTHEASTERN COLLEGE, INC., vs. COURT OF APPEALS, showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the damages or injury was a
fortuitous event. When the effect is found to be partly the result of the participation of
man — whether it be from active intervention, or neglect, or failure to act — the whole
occurrence is hereby humanized, and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God.

Private respondents are owners of a house at 326 College Road, Pasay while petitioner In the case at bar, the lower court accorded full credence to the finding of the
owns a four-storey school building along the same College Road. That on October 11, investigating team that subject school building’s roofing had “no sufficient anchorage
1989, a powerful typhoon hit Metro Manila. Buffeted by very strong winds, the roof of to hold it in position especially when battered by strong winds.” Based on such finding,
the petitioner’s building was partly ripped off and blown away, landing on and the trial court imputed negligence to petitioner and adjudged it liable for damages to
destroying portions of the roofing of private respondents’ house. When the typhoon had private respondents.
passed, an ocular inspection of the destroyed building was conducted by a team of
engineers headed by the city building official. There is no question that a typhoon or storm is a fortuitous event, a natural occurrence
which may be foreseen but is unavoidable despite any amount of foresight, diligence
In their report, they imputed negligence to the petitioner for the structural defect of the or care. In order to be exempt from liability arising from any adverse consequence
building and improper anchorage of trusses to the roof beams to cause for the roof be engendered thereby, there should have been no human participation amounting to a
ripped off the building, thereby causing damage to the property of respondent. negligent act. In other words; the person seeking exoneration from liability must not be
guilty of negligence. Negligence, as commonly understood, is conduct which naturally
or reasonably creates undue risk or harm to others. It may be the failure to observe that
Respondents filed an action before the RTC for recovery of damages based on culpa
degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justify demand, or
aquiliana. Petitioner interposed denial of negligence and claimed that the typhoon as
the omission to do something which a prudent and reasonable man, guided by
an Act of God is the sole cause of the damage. RTC ruled in their favor relying on the
considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do.
testimony of the City Engineer and the report made after the ocular inspection.
Petitioners appeal before the CA which affirmed the decision of the RTC.

2. It bears emphasizing that a person claiming damages for the negligence of another
Hence this present appeal.
has the burden of proving the existence of fault or negligence causative of his injury or
loss. The facts constitutive of negligence must be affirmatively established by
ISSUES: competent evidence, 19 not merely by presumptions and conclusions without basis in
fact. Private respondents, in establishing the culpability of petitioner, merely relied on
(1) Whether the damage on the roof of the building of private respondents the aforementioned report submitted by a team which made an ocular inspection of
resulting from the impact of the falling portions of the school building’s roof petitioner’s school building after the typhoon. As the term imparts, an ocular inspection
ripped off by the strong winds of typhoon “Saling”, was, within legal is one by means of actual sight or viewing. What is visual to the eye through, is not
contemplation, due to fortuitous event? always reflective of the real cause behind.
(2) Whether or not an ocular inspection is sufficient evidence to prove

HELD: In the present case, other than the said ocular inspection, no investigation was
conducted to determine the real cause of the partial unroofing of petitioner’s school
1. Yes, petitioner should be exonerated from liability arising from the damage caused building.
by the typhoon. Under Article 1174 of the Civil Code, Except in cases expressly
specified by the law, or when it is 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 could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable.

In order that a fortuitous event may exempt a person from liability, it is necessary that
he be free from any previous negligence or misconduct by reason of which the loss
may have been occasioned. 12 An act of God cannot be invoked for the protection of a
person who has been guilty of gross negligence in not trying to forestall its possible
adverse consequences. When a person’s negligence concurs with an act of God in
producing damage or injury to another, such person is not exempt from liability by