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TORTS CASE DIGEST

1. LUCAS, et al. vs. TUAÑO


G.R. NO. 178763 | 21 April 2009
(AJA – medical malpractice)

DOCTRINE:

There is breach of duty of care, skill and diligence, or the improper performance of such duty, by the
attending physician when the patient is injured in body or in health [and this] constitutes the actionable
malpractice. Hence, proof of breach of duty on the part of the attending physician is insufficient. Rather, the
negligence of the physician must be the proximate cause of the injury.

FACTS:
Herein petitioner, Peter Lucas, first consulted respondent, Dr. Tuaño, on a complaint of soreness and
redness on his right eye. The respondent, after a series of examinations, found that the former was suffering
from conjunctivitis or “sore eyes” and prescribed the use of the Spersacet-C. However, after the petitioner’s
condition seemed to have worsened, he sought for the respondent’s second finding wherein the latter said
that his condition had progressed to Epidemic Kerato Conjunctivitis (EKC), a viral infection. The respondent
then prescribed the use of Maxitrol, a steroid-based eye drop. The petitioner’s condition worsened overtime,
yet he obediently complied with all the prescriptions and orders of the respondent.

Four months later and after the petitioner suffered from significant swelling of his right eyeball, headaches,
nausea and blindness on this right eye, he sought the opinion of another doctor, Dr. Aquino. The doctor
found that the petitioner had been suffering from glaucoma and needed to undergo laser surgery, lest he
might suffer from total blindness.

After reading the literature on the use of the medicine Maxitrol, Fatima, one of the petitioners herein and
Peter Lucas’ wife, read that one of the adverse effects of prolonged use of steroid-based eye drops could
possibly be glaucoma. Peter, Fatima, and their two children instituted a civil case for damages against
herein respondent for medical malpractice.

RTC: dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. CA: affirmed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Dr. Tuaño failed to exercise diligence in the performance of his duty to hold him liable for
damages.

RULING:
NO. Petitioners’ position, in sum, is that Peter’s glaucoma is the direct result of Dr. Tuaño’s negligence in
his improper administration of the drug Maxitrol; “thus, [the latter] should be liable for all the damages
suffered and to be suffered by [petitioners].” Clearly, the present controversy is a classic illustration of a
medical negligence case against a physician based on the latter’s professional negligence. In this type of
suit, the patient or his heirs, in order to prevail, is required to prove by preponderance of evidence that the
physician failed to exercise that degree of skill, care, and learning possessed by other persons in the same
profession; and that as a proximate result of such failure, the patient or his heirs suffered damages.

For lack of a specific law geared towards the type of negligence committed by members of the medical
profession, such claim for damages is almost always anchored on the alleged violation of Article 2176 of
the Civil Code, which states that:
ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is
called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

In medical negligence cases, also called medical malpractice suits, there exist a physician-patient
relationship between the doctor and the victim. But just like any other proceeding for damages, four
essential elements must be established by the plaintiff/s: (D-BIP)

(1) duty;
(2) breach;
(3) injury; and
(4) proximate causation

All The four (4) elements must co-exist in order to find the physician negligent and, thus, liable for damages.

SC: affirmed. Petition denied.

2. G.R. No. 126297 January 31, 2007


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila FIRST DIVISION
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
NATIVIDAD and ENRIQUE AGANA, Respondents.

Facts:

Natividad Agana was rushed to the Medical City Hospital because of difficulty of bowel movement and
bloody anal discharge. Dr. Miguel Ampil, diagnosed her to be suffering from “cancer of the sigmoid.” Dr.
Ampil, assisted by the medical staff of the Medical City Hospital, performed an anterior resection surgery
on Natividad. He found that the malignancy in her sigmoid area had spread on her left ovary, necessitating
the removal of certain portions of it. Thus, Dr. Ampil obtained the consent of Natividad’s husband, Enrique
Agana, to permit Dr. Juan Fuentes, to perform hysterectomy on her.

After Dr. Fuentes had completed the hysterectomy, Dr. Ampil took over, completed the operation and closed
the incision. However, the operation appeared to be flawed. After a couple of days, Natividad complained
of excruciating pain in her anal region. She consulted both Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes about it. They told
her that the pain was the natural consequence of the surgery.

Two weeks after Natividad returned from the United States to seek further treatment, her daughter found a
piece of gauze protruding from her vagina. Upon being informed about it, Dr. Ampil proceeded to her house
where he managed to extract by hand a piece of gauze measuring 1.5 inches in width. He then assured
her that the pains would soon vanish.

Dr. Ampil’s assurance did not come true. Instead, the pains intensified, prompting Natividad to seek
treatment at the Polymedic General Hospital. While confined there, Dr. Ramon Gutierrez detected the
presence of another foreign object in her vagina — a foul-smelling gauze measuring 1.5 inches in width
which badly infected her vaginal vault. A recto-vaginal fistula had formed in her reproductive organs which
forced stool to excrete through the vagina. Another surgical operation was needed to remedy the damage.

Natividad and her husband filed with the RTC a complaint for damages against the Professional Services,
Inc. (PSI), owner of the Medical City Hospital, Dr. Ampil, and Dr. Fuentes. They alleged that the latter are
liable for negligence for leaving two pieces of gauze inside Natividad’s body and malpractice for concealing
their acts of negligence.

Pending the outcome of the above cases, Natividad died and was duly substituted by her children (the
Aganas). The RTC rendered its Decision in favor of the Aganas, finding PSI, Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes
liable for negligence and malpractice.

The Court of Appeals rendered its Decision dismissing the case against Dr. Fuentes with Dr. Ampil liable
to reimburse Professional Services, Inc., whatever amount the latter will pay or had paid to the plaintiffs.

Issues: Whether or not PSI may be held solidarily liable for the negligence of Dr. Ampil.

Held: Yes, PSI is solidarily liable for the negligence of Dr. Ampil. In Ramos v. Court of Appeals, the court
held that private hospitals, hire, fire and exercise real control over their attending and visiting ‘consultant’
staff. While ‘consultants’ are not, technically employees, the control exercised, the hiring, and the right to
terminate consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an employer-employee relationship, with the
exception of the payment of wages. The court held that for the purpose of allocating responsibility in medical
negligence cases, an employer-employee relationship in effect exists between hospitals and their attending
and visiting physicians.

In addition to the pronouncement in Ramos vs CA, Its liability is also anchored upon the agency principle
of apparent authority or agency by estoppel and the doctrine of corporate negligence.

Apparent authority, or what is sometimes referred to as the “holding out” theory, or doctrine of ostensible
agency or agency by estoppel, imposes liability, not as the result of the reality of a contractual relationship,
but rather because of the actions of a principal or an employer in somehow misleading the public into
believing that the relationship or the authority exists.

In this case, PSI publicly displays in the lobby of Hospital the names and specializations of the physicians
associated or accredited by it, including those of Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes. It is now estopped from passing
all the blame to the physicians whose names it proudly paraded in the public directory leading the public to
believe that it vouched for their skill and competence. PSI’s act is tantamount to holding out to the public
that Medical City Hospital, through its accredited physicians, offers quality health care services. By
accrediting Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes and publicly advertising their qualifications, the hospital created the
impression that they were its agents, authorized to perform medical or surgical services for its patients. As
expected, these patients, Natividad being one of them, accepted the services on the reasonable belief that
such were being rendered by the hospital or its employees, agents, or servants.

Under the doctrine of corporate negligence or corporate responsibility, PSI as owner, operator and manager
of Medical City Hospital, did not perform the necessary supervision nor exercise diligent efforts in the
supervision of Drs. Ampil and Fuentes and its nursing staff, resident doctors, and medical interns who
assisted Drs. Ampil and Fuentes in the performance of their duties as surgeons. Premised on the doctrine
of corporate negligence, the trial court held that PSI is directly liable for such breach of duty.

In the present case, it was duly established that PSI operates the Medical City Hospital for the purpose and
under the concept of providing comprehensive medical services to the public. Accordingly, it has the duty
to exercise reasonable care to protect from harm all patients admitted into its facility for medical treatment.
Unfortunately, PSI failed to perform such duty.

It is worthy to note that Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes operated on Natividad with the assistance of the Medical
City Hospital’s staff, composed of resident doctors, nurses, and interns. As such, it is reasonable to
conclude that PSI, as the operator of the hospital, has actual or constructive knowledge of the procedures
carried out, particularly the report of the attending nurses that the two pieces of gauze were missing. In
Fridena v. Evans, it was held that a corporation is bound by the knowledge acquired by or notice given to
its agents or officers within the scope of their authority and in reference to a matter to which their authority
extends. This means that the knowledge of any of the staff of Medical City Hospital constitutes knowledge
of PSI. Now, the failure of PSI, despite the attending nurses’ report, to investigate and inform Natividad
regarding the missing gauzes amounts to callous negligence. Not only did PSI breach its duties to oversee
or supervise all persons who practice medicine within its walls, it also failed to take an active step in fixing
the negligence committed. This renders PSI, not only vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Ampil under
Article 2180 of the Civil Code, but also directly liable for its own negligence under Article 2176.

PSI, apart from a general denial of its responsibility, failed to adduce evidence showing that it exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family in the accreditation and supervision of Dr. Ampil. In neglecting to offer
such proof, PSI failed to discharge its burden under the last paragraph of Article 2180 and, therefore, must
be adjudged solidarily liable with Dr. Ampil

3. NOGRALES v. CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL.,


G.R. No. 142625 19 December 2006
[NKYB]

Principles:

BORROWED SERVANT DOCTRINE: This doctrine provides that once the surgeon enters the
operating room and takes charge of the proceedings, the acts or omissions of operating room
personnel, and any negligence associated with such acts or omissions, are imputable to the
surgeon. While the assisting physicians and nurses may be employed by the hospital, or
engaged by the patient, they normally become the temporary servants or agents of the surgeon
in charge while the operation is in progress, and liability may be imposed upon the surgeon for
their negligent acts under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

FACTS:

Pregnant with her fourth child, Corazon Nogales ("Corazon"), who was then 37 years old, was
under the exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Oscar Estrada ("Dr. Estrada") beginning on her fourth
month of pregnancy on her last trimester of pregnancy, Dr. Estrada noted an increase in her
blood pressure and development of leg edema indicating preeclampsia, which is a dangerous
complication of pregnancy.

Midnight of 25 May 1976, Corazon started to experience mild labor pains prompting Corazon
and Rogelio Nogales ("Spouses Nogales") to see Dr. Estrada at his home. Dr. Estrada advised
her immediate admission to the Capitol Medical Center ("CMC").

Upon Corazon's admission at the CMC, Rogelio Nogales ("Rogelio") executed and signed the
"Consent on Admission and Agreement” and "Admission Agreement." Corazon was then
brought to the labor room of the CMC.
Dr. Rosa Uy ("Dr. Uy"), who was then a resident physician of CMC, conducted an internal
examination of Corazon.

Dr. Estrada ordered for 10 mg. of valium to be administered immediately by intramuscular


injection.

Intravenous administration of syntocinon admixed with dextrose, 5%, in lactated Ringers'


solution, at the rate of eight to ten micro-drops per minute.

Dr. Joel Enriquez ("Dr. Enriquez"), an anesthesiologist at CMC, was notified at 4:15 a.m. of
Corazon's admission. Subsequently, when asked if he needed the services of an
anesthesiologist, Dr. Estrada refused. Despite Dr. Estrada's refusal, Dr. Enriquez stayed to
observe Corazon's condition.

At 6:10 a.m., Corazon's bag of water ruptured spontaneously. At 6:12 a.m., Corazon's cervix
was fully dilated. At 6:13 a.m., Corazon started to experience convulsions. Dr. Estrada ordered
the injection of ten grams of magnesium sulfate. However, Dr. Ely Villaflor ("Dr. Villaflor"), who
was assisting Dr. Estrada, administered only 2.5 grams of magnesium sulfate.

Dr. Estrada, assisted by Dr. Villaflor, applied low forceps to extract Corazon's baby. In the
process, a 1.0 x 2.5 cm. piece of cervical tissue was allegedly torn. The baby came out in an
apnic, cyanotic, weak and injured condition. Consequently, the baby had to be... intubated and
resuscitated by Dr. Enriquez and Dr. Payumo.

At 6:27 a.m., Corazon began to manifest moderate vaginal bleeding which rapidly became
profuse.

Dr. Estrada ordered blood typing and cross matching with bottled blood. It took approximately
30 minutes for the CMC laboratory, headed by Dr. Perpetua Lacson ("Dr. Lacson"), to comply
with Dr. Estrada's order and deliver the blood.

Dr. Noe Espinola ("Dr. Espinola"), head of the Obstetrics-Gynecology Department of the CMC,
was apprised of Corazon's condition by telephone. Upon being informed that Corazon was
bleeding profusely, Dr. Espinola ordered immediate hysterectomy. Rogelio was made to... sign
a "Consent to Operation."

Due to the inclement weather then, Dr. Espinola, who was fetched from his residence by an
ambulance, arrived at the CMC about an hour later or at 9:00 a.m

Despite Dr. Espinola's efforts, Corazon died at 9:15 a.m. The cause of death was "hemorrhage,
post partum."petitioners filed a complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court of Manila
against CMC, Dr. Estrada, Dr. Villaflor, Dr. Uy, Dr. Enriquez, Dr. Lacson, Dr. Espinola, and a
certain Nurse J. Dumlao for the death of Corazon.

Petitioners charged CMC with negligence in the selection and supervision of defendant
physicians and hospital staff.

After more than 11 years of trial, the trial court rendered judgment on 22 November 1993
finding Dr. Estrada solely liable for damages.

Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court


The Court noted that Dr. Estrada did not appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming
the decision of the Regional Trial Court. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals,
affirming the trial court's judgment, is already final as against Dr. Oscar Estrada.

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's 9 September 2002 Resolution
claiming that Dr. Enriquez, Dr. Villaflor and Nurse Dumlao were notified of the petition at their
counsels' last known addresses. Petitioners reiterated their imputation of negligence on these
respondents.

Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's ruling.

The Court of Appeals concluded that since Rogelio engaged Dr. Estrada as the attending
physician of his wife, any liability for malpractice must be Dr. Estrada's sole responsibility.

ISSUE:

1. Whether CMC is vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Estrada.

2. Whether or not CMC is automatically exempt from liability considering that Dr.
Estrada is an independent contractor-physician.

RULING:

Dr. Estrada's negligence in handling the treatment and management of Corazon's condition
which ultimately resulted in Corazon's death is no longer in issue. Dr. Estrada did not appeal the
decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the ruling of the trial court finding Dr. Estrada
solely liable for damages.

While the Court in Ramos did not expound on the control test, such test essentially determines
whether an employment relationship exists between a physician and a hospital based on the
exercise of control over the physician as to details.

The employer (or the hospital) must have the right to control both the means and the details of
the process by which the employee (or the physician) is to accomplish his task. The Court finds
no single evidence pointing to CMC's exercise of control over Dr. Estrada's treatment and
management of Corazon's condition. Throughout Corazon's pregnancy, she was under the
exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Estrada. At the time of Corazon's admission at CMC and during
her delivery, it was Dr. Estrada, assisted by Dr. Villaflor, who attended to Corazon. There was
no showing that CMC had a part in diagnosing Corazon's condition.

While Dr. Estrada enjoyed staff privileges at CMC, such fact alone did not make him an
employee of CMC. CMC merely allowed Dr. Estrada to use its facilities when Corazon was
about to give birth, which CMC considered an emergency. Considering these circumstances,
Dr. Estrada is not an employee of CMC, but an independent contractor.

Through CMC's acts, CMC clothed Dr. Estrada with apparent authority thereby leading the
Spouses Nogales to believe that Dr. Estrada was an employee or agent of CMC. CMC cannot
now repudiate such authority.

First, CMC granted staff privileges to Dr. Estrada. CMC extended its medical staff and facilities
to Dr. Estrada. Upon Dr. Estrada's request for Corazon's admission, CMC, through its
personnel, readily accommodated Corazon and updated Dr. Estrada of her condition.
Second, CMC made Rogelio sign consent forms printed on CMC letterhead. Prior to Corazon's
admission and supposed hysterectomy, CMC asked Rogelio to sign release forms, the contents
of which reinforced Rogelio's belief that Dr. Estrada was a member of CMC's medical staff.

Without any indication in these consent forms that Dr. Estrada was an independent contractor-
physician, the Spouses Nogales could not have known that Dr. Estrada was an independent
contractor. Significantly, no one from CMC informed the Spouses Nogales that Dr. Estrada was
an independent contractor.

Dr. Atencio, who was then a member of CMC Board of Directors, testified that Dr. Estrada was
part of CMC's surgical staff.

Third, Dr. Estrada's referral of Corazon's profuse vaginal bleeding to Dr. Espinola, who was then
the Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of CMC, gave the impression that Dr.
Estrada as a member of CMC's medical staff was collaborating with other CMC-employed
specialists in treating Corazon.

The records show that the Spouses Nogales relied upon a perceived employment relationship
with CMC in accepting Dr. Estrada's services. Rogelio testified that he and his wife specifically
chose Dr. Estrada to handle Corazon's delivery not only because of their friend's
recommendation, but more importantly because of Dr. Estrada's "connection with a reputable
hospital, the [CMC]."

Dr. Estrada's relationship with CMC played a significant role in the Spouses Nogales' decision in
accepting Dr. Estrada's services as the obstetrician-gynecologist for Corazon's delivery.

The Spouses Nogales looked to CMC to provide the best medical care and support services for
Corazon's delivery.

Prior to Corazon's fourth pregnancy, she used to give birth inside a clinic.

CMC's defense that all it did was "to extend to [Corazon] its facilities" is untenable. The Court
cannot close its eyes to the reality that hospitals, such as CMC, are in the business of
treatment.

Likewise unconvincing is CMC's argument that petitioners are estopped from claiming damages
based on the Consent on Admission and Consent to Operation.

The documents do not expressly release CMC from liability for injury to Corazon due to
negligence during her treatment or operation. Neither do the consent forms expressly exempt
CMC from liability for Corazon's death due to negligence during such... treatment or operation.
Such release forms, being in the nature of contracts of adhesion, are construed strictly against
hospitals. Besides, a blanket release in favor of hospitals "from any and all claims," which
includes claims due to bad faith or gross negligence, would be contrary to public policy and thus
void.

Even simple negligence is not subject to blanket release in favor of establishments like hospitals
but may only mitigate liability depending on the circumstances... a person needing urgent
medical attention rushes to a hospital, he cannot bargain on... equal footing with the hospital on
the terms of admission and operation. Such a person is literally at the mercy of the hospital.
4. Engr. Pablito S. Paluca, in his capacity as the General Manager of the Dipolog City
Water District vs. COA

G.R. No. 218240|June 28, 2016

J. Velasco (GER)

DOCTRINE: It is the client's duty to be in contact with his lawyer from time to time in order
to be informed of the progress and developments of his case; hence, to merely rely on the
bare reassurances of his lawyer that everything is being taken care of is not enough.

Settled is the rule that a client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel. The only
exception is when the negligence of the counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the
client is deprived of his day in court. In such instance, the remedy is to reopen the case and
allow the party who was denied his day in court to adduce evidence. However, perusing the
case at bar, we find no reason to depart from the general rule. (Almendras, Jr. v. Almendras)

FACTS: After the RLAO audited the DCWD, the RLAO issued several Notices of disallowance.

Petitioner was made liable in all the NDs either in his capacity as signatory of the vouchers
or as a member of the Board of Directors authorizing the release of the money.

Sec. 48 of PD 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines provides the period
within which to file an appeal from an ND. Under Section 48, appeal from decision of
auditors. Any person aggrieved by the decision of an auditor of any government agency in
the settlement of an account or claim may within six months from receipt of a copy of the
decision appeal in writing to the Commission.

According to the COA, DCWD received a copy of the NDs. After receiving the NDs, the DCWD
purportedly endorsed the same to a certain Atty. Ric Luna, their private retainer, for
appropriate action in an undated letter. However, it appears that Atty. Luna only appealed
ND DCWD 2007-011 dated March 20, 2007. Such appeal was later denied by the RLAO.
DCWD claims that Atty. Luna also failed to move for the reconsideration of the RLAO
Decision. Thus, all the NDs became final and executory, the six (6)-month period for the other
NDs having expired.

According to the COA, it was only on August 10, 2009 that DCWD appealed the NDs or 23
months after receiving a copy of NDs. Notably, the COA issued a Notice of Finality of Decision
dated November 16, 2009 covering all the NDs.

The RLAO denied DCWD's appeal and affirmed the questioned NDs.
On appeal, the COA issued the assailed Decision dismissing the petition for having been filed
out of time. Accordingly, COA Regional Office IX sustained Notices of Disallowance (and
Regional Legal and Adjudication Office IX sustained ND as well, on the payment of various
benefits to the officials and employees of Dipolog City Water District Minoag, Dipolog City, of
P4,751,987.71, are final and executory.

Hence, the instant petition.

In support of his contention, petitioner cites Villa Rhecar Bus v. De la Cruz, where the Court
ruled:

It is unfortunate that the lawyer of the petitioner neglected his responsibilities to his client.
This negligence ultimately resulted in a judgment adverse to the client. Be that as it may,
such mistake binds the client, the herein petitioner. As a general rule, a client is bound by the
mistakes of his counsel. Only when the application of the general rule would result in serious
injustice should an exception thereto be called for. Under the circumstances obtaining in
this case, no undue prejudice against the petitioner has been satisfactorily demonstrated. At
most, there is only an unsupported claim that the petitioner had been prejudiced by the
negligence of its counsel, without an explanation to that effect.

Moreover, the petitioner retained the services of counsel of its choice. It should, as far as this
suit is concerned, bear the consequences of its faulty option. After all, in the application of
the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded against is not the lack of
previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. The question is not whether
the petitioner succeeded in defending its interest but whether the petitioner had the
opportunity to present its side. Notice to counsel is notice to the client. The proposed of the
petitioner to the effect that the Labor Arbiter should be required to send a separate notice to
the client should not be taken seriously. Otherwise, the provisions of the Civil Code on
Agency as well as Section 23, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court 12 will be put to naught.

Petitioner, thus, posited the view that he cannot be faulted for the negligence of his counsel
inasmuch as he had already endorsed the same to him.

ISSUE: WON COA correctly dismissed Paluca's petition for failure to appeal the NDs within
the 6-month reglementary period.

RULING: Yes. SC disagreed with Paluca’s contention. Absent a showing that petitioner
regularly followed up with his counsel as to the status of the case, a mere endorsement does
not relieve a client of the negligence of his counsel.

While it is true that the client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel, the application of this
general rule should not be applied if it would result in serious injustice or when negligence
of the counsel was so great that the party was prejudiced and prevented from fairly
presenting his case.

(See the doctrine)

In Tan v. Court of Appeals, the Court explained:

As clients, petitioners should have maintained contact with their counsel from time to
time, and informed themselves of the progress of their case, thereby exercising that
standard of care "which an ordinarily prudent man bestows upon his business."

Petitioner was given several opportunities to present his evidence or to clarify his medical
constraints in court, but he did not do so, despite knowing full well that he had a pending
case in court. For petitioner to feign and repeatedly insist upon a lack of awareness of
the progress of an important litigation is to unmask a penchant for the ludicrous.
Although he rightfully expected counsel to amply protect his interest, he cannot just
sit back, relax and await the outcome of the case. In keeping with the normal course of
events, he should have taken the initiative "of making the proper inquiries from his
counsel and the trial court as to the status of his case." For his failure to do so, he has
only himself to blame. The Court cannot allow petitioner the exception to the general rule
just because his counsel admitted having no knowledge of his medical condition. To do so
will set a dangerous precedent of never-ending suits, so long as lawyers could allege their
own fault or negligence to support the client's case and obtain remedies and reliefs already
lost by the operation of law.

The only interaction between DCWD and its counsel, Atty. Luna, as stated in the petition
itself, was the alleged undated endorsement letter of the NDs. No follow-ups were apparently
made as to the progress of the appeals to the NDs during the six (6)-month appeal period-all
because petitioner thought that Atty. Luna had taken the appropriate action thereon. Worse,
it was only after the lapse of twenty-three (23) months from receipt of the NDs that
petitioner was able to file its appeal. Verily, petitioner cannot escape liability for negligence
of his counsel.

The instant petition is DISMISSED. The COA Decision is AFFIRMED.

5. NESTOR A. JACOT vs. ROGEN T. DAL and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


G.R. No. 179848 November 27, 2008
Negligence of Lawyers
(CHUA)

FACTS:
Petitioner Nestor A. Jacot assails the Resolution dated 28 September 2007 of the
COMELEC, affirming the Resolution dated 12 June 2007 of the COMELEC Second Division,
disqualifying him from running for the position of Vice-Mayor of Catarman, Camiguin in the
14 May 2007 National and Local Elections, on the ground that he failed to make a personal
renouncement of his US citizenship.

Petitioner was a natural born citizen of the Philippines, who became a naturalized
citizen of the US on 13 December 1989. Petitioner sought to reacquire his Philippine
citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and
Re-Acquisition Act.

He filed a request for the administration of his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines with the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) of Los Angeles, California. The
Los Angeles PCG issued on 19 June 2006 an Order of Approval of petitioner’s request, and on
the same day, petitioner took his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before
Vice Consul Edward C. Yulo. On 27 September 2006, the Bureau of Immigration issued and
Identification Certificate, recognizing petitioner as a citizen of the Philippines.

Six months after, on 26 March 2007, petitioner filed his Certificate of Candidacy for
the Position of Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Catarman, Camiguin.

In the meantime, the 14 May 2007 National and Local Elections were held. Petitioner
garnered the highest number of votes for the position of Vice Mayor.

On 12 June 2007, the COMELEC Second Division finally issued its Resolution
disqualifying the petitioner from running for the position of Vice-Mayor of Catarman,
Camiguin, for failure to make the requisite renunciation of his US citizenship. The COMELEC
Second Division did not consider Valles v. COMELEC and Mercado v. Manzano applicable to
the instant case, since Valles and Mercado were dual citizens since birth, unlike the petitioner
who lost his Filipino citizenship by means of naturalization. Petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration but the COMELEC en banc denied the same. Hence this review.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the petitioner is bound by the acts of his counsel.

RULING:

Yes. It is a well-settled rule that a client is bound by his counsel’s conduct, negligence,
and mistakes in handling the case, and the client cannot be heard to complain that the result
might have been different had his lawyer proceeded differently. The only exceptions to the
general rule -- that a client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel -- which this Court finds
acceptable are when the reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due
process of law, or when the application of the rule results in the outright deprivation of one’s
property through a technicality. These exceptions are not attendant in this case.

Petitioner cites De Guzman v. Sandiganbayan, where therein petitioner De Guzman


was unable to present a piece of evidence because his lawyer proceeded to file a demurrer
to evidence, despite the Sandiganbayan’s denial of his prior leave to do so. The wrongful
insistence of the lawyer in filing a demurrer to evidence had totally deprived De Guzman of
any chance to present documentary evidence in his defense. This was certainly not the case
in the Petition at bar.

Herein, petitioner was in no way deprived of due process. His counsel actively
defended his suit by attending the hearings, filing the pleadings, and presenting evidence on
petitioner’s behalf. Moreover, petitioner’s cause was not defeated by a mere technicality, but
because of a mistaken reliance on a doctrine which is not applicable to his case. A case lost
due to an untenable legal position does not justify a deviation from the rule that clients are
bound by the acts and mistakes of their counsel.
6. Guevarra vs Bautista
G.R. No. 148435, November 28, 2008
JYDM

FACTS:

Spouses Engracio and Claudia Bautista filed a complaint for Reimbursement of


Loan Payment and/or Collection of Money with damages against herein petitioners
Rogelio Guevarra, and Edgardo Batugan et.al. The RTC ruled in favor of the Spouses
on Jan. 5, 1996. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but was subsequently denied. No
appeal was taken. Instead, a petition for relief was filed by petitioners as they failed to
seasonably appeal allegedly because of accident, honest mistake and excusable
negligence.

They attributed their failure to appeal to the excusable negligence of their counsel
who, at the time of the receipt of said decision, was busy preparing for a conference in
Baguio City. To strengthen their claim for relief from judgment, petitioners raised anew
their defense set up in the collection case. The RTC, however, on Sept.16, 1996, denied
the petition holding that the issues presented therein by petitioners have been resolved
by the earlier decision. The CA also dismissed their appeal because while they’re
apparently questioning the Sept.16 Order, their appellants brief, in fact is assailing the
January 5, 1996 decision. As such, the appeal before the CA was filed beyond the
reglementary period. The CA further held that no appeal may be taken from an order
denying a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to Section 1(a), Rule 41 of the Rules.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the petitioner’s counsel negligence to timely appeal is an excusable


negligence

RULING

No. Unfortunately for the petitioners, negligence, to be "excusable," must be such


that ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded against it. Their counsel’s
oversight can hardly be characterized as excusable, much less unavoidable. It is settled
that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence and omission of their counsel. While,
exceptionally, the client may be excused from the failure of counsel, the circumstances
obtaining in the present case do not convince this Court to take exception.

To strengthen their claim for relief from judgment, petitioners relied on their alleged
meritorious defense, thereby focusing mainly on the grounds warranting the reversal of
the January 5, 1996 Decision. The Court emphasized at this point that fraud,
accident, mistake, or excusable negligence should first be established before relief
from judgment can be granted. Indeed, relief will not be granted to a party who
seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at
law was due to his own (or that of his counsel) negligence; otherwise, the petition
for relief can be used to revive the right to appeal which had been lost through
inexcusable negligence.

To reiterate, as clearly attempted by the petitioners, petition for relief from


judgment cannot be availed of to revive a lost appeal. It must be established that the
decision became final and executory, or that the judgment or order had been entered, by
reason of fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. No such circumstance has
been shown to exist in this case. Petition is hereby denied.

7) Reyes vs. NLRC, Coca-Cola, Bottlers Phils., and/or Rotaida Taguibao


G.R. No. 180551|February 10, 2009
J. Chico-Nazario (BME)

DOCTRINE: The basic general rule is that the negligence of counsel binds the client. Hence, if
counsel commits a mistake in the course of litigation, thereby resulting in his losing the case,
his client must perforce suffer the consequences of the mistake. This general rule, however,
pertains only to simple negligence of the lawyer. Where the negligence of counsel is one that is
so gross, palpable, pervasive, reckless and inexcusable, then it does not bind the client since, in
such a case, the client is effectively deprived of his or her day in court.

FACTS: Present petition arose from an illegal dismissal case filed by petitioner against
private respondents before the Labor Arbiter who ruled in favor of the former ordering the
latter to reinstate him to his work, to pay him his full backwages, and the award of attorney’s
fees.

Respondents, thus, immediately reinstated the petitioner. However, by filing a Memorandum


of Appeal before NLRC and posting Supersedeas Bond, they sought the stay of execution of
the monetary awards. The appeal was dismissed and Labor Arbiter’s decision was affirmed
with modification by reducing the amount of backwages, awarding separation pay and
deleting order of reinstatement and award of attorney’s fees. All the parties moved for
reconsideration of this Decision, but the same were all denied in 13 July 2016.

From the 13 July 2006 Resolution of the NLRC, only petitioner elevated his case before the
CA by filing a Petition for Certiorari. CA, however, in its Resolution dated 10 November
2006, dismissed the same for his failure to give any explanation why a copy of the said
Petition was not personally served upon the counsel of the adverse parties.

Since petitioner failed to timely file a MR, Resolution dated 10 November 2006 of the CA
became final and executory, and an Entry of Judgment was made.

Petitioner’s new counsel filed an Entry of Appearance with an Urgent MR. He, through his
new counsel, sought for the liberality of the CA, faulting his former counsel for the procedural
defects of his Petition and for his failure to seasonably seek reconsideration of the 10
November 2006 Resolution of the CA. Also, this time, petitioner provided the explanation
required by Section 11, Rule 13 of the Revised Rules of Court. However this was denied in a
Resolution dated 9 November 2007 for being filed out of time.

Hence, petitioner filed before SC a Special Civil Action for Certiorari assailing the Resolutions
dated 10 November 2006 and 9 November 2007 of the CA.

Petitioner submitted that he raised meritorious arguments in his Petition before the CA, and
the dismissal thereof on a mere technicality defeated the greater interest of substantial
justice. Petitioner attributes the technical flaws committed before the appellate court to his
former counsel, and urges the Court to excuse him therefrom since compliance with the
procedural rules calls for the application of legal knowledge and expertise which he, as a
layman, cannot be expected to know.

Respondents argued that petitioner’s procedural faux pas cannot be excused by merely
attributing the same to his former counsel, in view of the doctrinal rule that negligence of the
counsel binds his client.

ISSUE: WON the doctrinal rule that negligence of the counsel binds his client applies in the
case at bar.

RULING: NO. The Court rules in favor of petitioner. (See the Doctrine)

It is true that for petitioner’s failure to comply with Section 11, Rule 13 of the Revised Rules
of Court, his petition should be expunged from the records. Nevertheless, the Rules of Court
itself calls for its liberal construction. Law and jurisprudence grant to courts the prerogative
to relax compliance with procedural rules of even the most mandatory character, mindful of
the duty to reconcile both the need to put an end to litigation speedily and the parties’ right
to an opportunity to be heard.

The call for a liberal interpretation of the Rules is even more strident in the instant case
which petitioner’s former counsel was obviously negligent in handling his case before the
CA. It was petitioner’s former counsel who failed to attach the required explanation to the
Petition. Said counsel did not bother to inform petitioner, his client, of the 10 November 2006
Resolution of the appellate court dismissing the Petition for lack of the required explanation.
Worse, said counsel totally abandoned petitioner’s case by merely allowing the reglementary
period for filing a MR to lapse without taking any remedial steps; thus, the 10 November
2006 Resolution became final and executory.

The circumstances of this case qualify it under the exception, rather than the general rule.
The negligence of petitioner’s former counsel may be considered gross as it invariably
resulted to the foreclosure of remedies otherwise readily available to the petitioner. Not only
was petitioner deprived of the opportunity to bring his case before the CA with the outright
dismissal of his Petition on a technicality, but he was also robbed of the chance to seek
reconsideration of the dismissal of his Petition.

To cling to the general rule in this case would only to condone, rather than rectify, a serious
injustice to a party -- whose only fault was to repose his faith and trust in his previous counsel
-- and close our eyes to the glaring grave abuse of discretion committed by the NLRC.

Instant Petition is GRANTED. The subject Resolutions of the CA and the Decision of the NLRC
are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Labor Arbiter is REINSTATED.

8) BACHRACH CORPORATION vs. PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY


G.R. No. 159915 March 12, 2009
Negligence of Lawyers
(AYA)

FACTS:

Philippine Ports Authority (as lessor) and Bachrach Corporation (as lessee) entered
into a 99-year lease agreement over Block 180 and Block 185. The lease will expire in the
years 2017 and 2018, respectively. Since the rentals for these properties were based on the
rates prevailing in the previous decades, PPA imposed rate increases. Separately from these
properties, PPA owned another property—Lot 8, Block 101—covered by its own lease
contract that expired in 1992. This lease has not been renewed, but the petitioner refused to
vacate the premises. PPA thus filed, and prevailed in, an ejectment case involving this
property against Bachrach Corporation.

The parties tried to extrajudicially settle their differences through a Compromise


Agreement but the same was not fully executed by the parties. Only the petitioner, its
counsel, and the respondent’s counsel signed; the respondent’s Board of Directors was not
satisfied with the terms and refused to sign the agreement. To compel PPA to implement the
terms of the Compromise Agreement, Bachrach Co. filed a complaint for specific
performance with the RTC of Manila. The case covered only the subjects of the Compromise
Agreement—Blocks 180 and 185. Seeking to include Lot 8, Block 101 in the complaint,
Bachrach Co. filed a Motion for Leave to File and for Admission of Attached Supplemental
and/or Amended Complaint but the same was denied. So, petitioner filed complaint for
Specific Performance against the same respondent, Philippine Ports Authority, this time
involving Lot 8, Block 101. The petitioner also sought the consolidation of this case with the
earlier civil case.

The RTC dismissed the second civil case on the grounds of res judicata, forum
shopping, and failure of the complaint to state a cause of action. The petitioner elevated the
dismissal to the CA. On February 20, 2002, the petitioner received the February 13, 2002
notice of the court requiring it to file its Brief within a period of 45 days from receipt of the
Order, which was to expire on April 6, 2002. Two days prior to the expiration of this period,
the petitioner filed a motion for a 45-day extension of time to file the brief. No brief was filed
within the extended period. Hence, the CA dismissed the appeal “for failure of the plaintiff-
appellant, Bachrach Corporation to file the required brief”. The, petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration (with Motion to Admit Attached Brief) and the same was denied.

ISSUE:

Whether the CA erred in not give a liberal application of Section 1€, Rule 50 of the Rules of
Court to the present case consistent with Section 6, Rule 1 of the same Rules

HELD:

NO. In a long line of cases, this Court has held that the CA’s authority to dismiss an
appeal for failure to file the appellant’s brief is a matter of judicial discretion. Thus, a
dismissal based on this ground is neither mandatory nor ministerial; the fundamentals of
justice and fairness must be observed, bearing in mind the background and web of
circumstances surrounding the case.

In the present case, the petitioner blames its former handling lawyer for failing to file
the appellant’s brief on time. This lawyer was allegedly transferring to another law office at
the time the appellant’s brief was due to be filed. In his excitement to transfer to his new
firm, he forgot about the appeal and the scheduled deadline; he likewise forgot his
responsibility to endorse the case to another lawyer in the law office. Under the
circumstances of this case, we find the failure to file the appeal brief inexcusable; thus, we
uphold the CA’s ruling.

The handling lawyer was undoubtedly at fault. The records show that even the
filing of a motion for reconsideration from the Regional Trial Court’s ruling was late.
In this case, he even had the benefit of an extended period for the filing of the brief,
but nevertheless failed to comply with the requirements. If the present counsel were to
be believed, the former counsel did not even make a proper turnover of his cases—a basic
matter for a lawyer and his law office to attend to before a lawyer leaves.

But while fault can be attributed to the handling lawyer, we find that the law firm
was no less at fault. The departure of a lawyer actively handling cases for a law firm is a
major concern; the impact of a departure, in terms of the assignment of cases to new lawyers
alone, is obvious. Incidents of mishandled cases due to failures in the turnover of files are
well-known within professional circles. For some reason, the law firm merely attributes the
failure to file the appeal brief to the handling lawyer. This is not true and is a buck-passing
that we cannot accept. The law firm itself was grossly remiss in its duties to care for the
interests of its client.
We note as a last point that the original 45-day period for the appellant to submit its brief
expired on April 6, 2002. Petitioner seasonably filed its motion for extension on April 4, 2002.
It was only on November 11, 2002, about seven (7) months later, that the CA dismissed the
appeal. Absolutely nothing appeared to have been done in the interim, not even in terms of
noting that no appeal brief had been filed. Thus, the petitioner simply took too long to rectify
its mistake; by the time that it acted, it was simply too late.

SC: DENIED the Petition for Review and, consequently, AFFIRMED the Court of Appeals'
Resolutions dated November 11, 2002 and September 8, 2003

9. Javellana v. Lutero

G.R. No. L-23956; July 21, 1967; En Banc


J. Castro

FACTS: On March 29, 1963 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jaro, Iloilo filed an unlawful
detainer complaint against Elpidio Javellana with the municipal court of Iloilo City, presided by
Judge Nicolas Lutero. The hearing, originally set for April 30, 1963, was postponed to May 24 for
failure of the defendant to receive summons, and then postponed again to June 27 for the same
reason. It was thereafter postponed to July 16, then to July 24, and finally to August 27, all at the
behest of the defendant's counsel, Atty. Jose Hautea, on the grounds that "he has not finished
his business transactions in Manila" and that "he hurt his right foot toe." The last postponement
was granted by the municipal court with the warning that no further postponement would be
entertained. When the case was called for trial on August 27, 1963, neither the defendant nor his
counsel appeared although one Atty. Romy Peña who was present in court verbally moved for
the postponement of the trial on the ground that defendant’s counsel was in Manila attending to
a business transaction. The verbal motion for postponement was denied and the plaintiff was
directed to adduce his evidence. And, on the basis of the plaintiff's evidence, the court on the
same date rendered judgment for the plaintiff and against the defendant. The defendant went to
the CFI of Iloilo praying that the decision in question be set aside and that the case be set for trial
again on the merits but the latter just dismissed the petition. Hence the present recourse.

ISSUE: Was the defendant’s counsel negligent?

RULING: YES. A counsel for any party in a judicial controversy, by mandate of the canons of
legal ethics, and with due regard for the elementary standards of fair play, is duty bound to prepare
for trial with diligence and deliberate speed. It is obvious that the counsel for the petitioner-
appellant has been remiss in this respect. The case was set for trial six times. Thrice it was
postponed at the behest of the said counsel. It was the bounden duty of the said counsel, under
the circumstances, to give preferential attention to the case. As things were, he regarded the
municipal court as a mere marionette that must ever await his pleasure. This attitude on his part
is censurable as it reveals more than just a modicum of disrespect for the judiciary and the
established machinery of justice. Nor is his censurable conduct mitigated by the appearance in
court on August 27 of another attorney who verbally moved for postponement nor by his telegram
received by the municipal judge on the same date asking for continuance. It is thus crystal-clear
that the appellant was not deprived of his day in court, and that the respondent municipal judge
did not err in proceeding with the trial, allowing the private respondent to present his evidence ex
parte, and thereafter rendering decision for the appellee. Moreover, after the denial of his motion
to set aside judgment and for new trial, the appellant had ample time to appeal; instead he allowed
the judgment to become final and executory.

Decision appealed from affirmed. Costs to be paid by defendant’s counsel.


10. Spouses Jose and Concepcion Olorga vs Judge Beldia Jr.
A.M. No. RTJ-08-2137
February 10, 2009
(Negligence of Judges)
(Gail Mendiola)

FACTS:

In a verified complaint dated April 5, 2006, complainant Ilda Olorga-Cañal, by herself and as representative
of the other heirs of spouses Jose and Concepcion Olorga, charged respondents Judge Rolindo D. Beldia,
Jr. and Atty. Mary Emilie T. Villanueva, former presiding judge and branch clerk of court, respectively, of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Branch 57,
with infidelity in the custody of records in connection with Civil Case No. X-82 entitled “Concepcion Olorga,
et al. v.Cesar Lopez” for specific performance and damages.

(Bale, to summarize, nagcomplain sila Spouses Olorga against Judge Beldia and Atty.
Villanueva, kasi may records na nawawala. Case was filed in 1982. It was submitted for
decision as per order released in the year 1994. Pero up till the time of this admin complaint,
which was 2006, wala pang decision na nailabas, apparently. So the Spouses Olorga went to
the court to follow it up. Turns out nawawala na ang records, nowhere to be found. Even the
previous branch clerk was looking for it in 1995 pa, pero di na Makita. Case was also not
reflected in the inventories prepared, and in the audit findings ng audit team from SC. When
they checked the docket book, not properly filled out. The last entry was 1982 pa, and that
the case was set for pre trial. That’s it. So they were not able to trace what happened to the
case na. Hence, the admin complaint. Nagsubmit sila complainant as well as si Judge and
branch clerk ng statements nila. Pero ang nilagay ko na lang is the findings of the CA Justice
who conducted the investigation para summarized na nya.)

Complainants and respondent judge and branch clerk of court, each submitted their versions of the events
that transpired. The pertinent facts, as discussed by Justice Acosta from the Court of Appeals of Cebu City
who investigated the case, are as follows.

(1) Civil Case No. X-82 was filed in 1982 in RTC, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Branch 57, then
presided by Judge Macandog, by Atty. Cañal against Cesar Lopez.

(2) There were photocopies of the orders issued by then Judge Cesar D. Estampador in Civil Case No. X-82,
where one Order stated—
As agreed by counsel for both parties, let the continuance of the hearing of this case be set on October 29,
1987, at 8:30 in the morning, for counsel for the plaintiff to cross examine
witness Cesar Lopez.
SO ORDERED.

(3) The other orders issued by Judge Estampador were all postponements/resetting of hearing dates.

(4) In a Motion dated May 21, 1084, Atty. Cañal withdrew as counsel.

(5) Atty. Raymundo Ponteras took over the case from Atty. Cañal, and thereafter, Atty. Vic Agravante took
over from Atty. Ponteras;

(6) Respondent judge was appointed as the presiding judge of Branch 57 on March 19, 1992 and
assumed office in May 1992.
(7) Respondent judge was designated as acting presiding judge of Branch RTC, Bacolod City, Branch 45,
pursuant to Administrative Order No. 104-93 dated June 30, 1993, in lieu of
Judge Medina who retired, but at the same time he continued to hear cases in Branch 57 since Judge
Roberto S.A. Javellana fully assumed the position of presiding judge of Branch 57 only in January of 1995.

(8) The last order issued by the respondent judge in Civil Case No. X-82 was dated November 16, 1994,
which read as follows:

All exhibits marked, Exhibit “I” with its sub-markings; Exhibit “5” sub-markings; Exhibits “6”, “7”, “8”, and
“8-A”; Exhibit “9” and “10” are all admitted as part of the testimony of the witnesses for the defendants, for
whatever worth it may be and thereafter submitted for DECISION.
SO ORDERED.

(9) Respondent judge was designated as the presiding judge of RTC, Bacolod City, Branch 41 on December
21, 1994, by virtue of Administrative Order No. 225-93, but assumed office only in January of 1995.

(10) Based on their joint-affidavit dated June 2, 2006, spouses Juanito and Leticia de Guzman13 averred
that sometime in 1994, they went to Branch 57 to follow-up on the case. They were shownthe records thereof
and someone from the office asked them for P300 as traveling expenses of the court’s messenger who would
deliver the case records to respondent judge in Bacolod City since the latter was the one to decide the said
case.

(11) Based on the affidavit of Rudy L. Olorga, he delivered the amount of P300 to the court messenger at
his residence and could even recall where the latter lives.

(12) The complainants, however, did not present the court messenger or any person who could corroborate
the foregoing allegations.

(13) Branch 57 clerk-in-charge of civil cases Lilibeth Libutan assumed her duty as such in July 1996. Per
her sworn statement, she had no knowledge of Civil Case No. X-82, until she heard the former clerk of court,
the late Atty. Riah Debulgado say that she (Atty. Debulgado) had been looking for the said records but could
not locate them.

(14) Respondent clerk of court assumed office only on January 10, 2000. There was no formal turn-over
of all the court’s case records since at that time, only the judges were
required to make and submit a bi-annual docket inventories and to conduct an inventory upon their
assumption of office.

(15) On March 21, 2000, the Supreme Court sent an audit team to Branch 57 and found out that there were
several cases not acted upon for a long period of time but Civil Case No. X-82 was not one of them as
revealed in the resolution of the First Division of the Supreme Court dated August 28, 2000.

(16) Per the docket Inventory dated July 11, 2000, for the period January to June 2000, submitted by Judge
Javellana, Civil Case No. X-82 was not included in said inventory.

(17) Respondent judge returned to Branch 57 in 2002, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 18-2002 dated
February 7, 2002.

(18) The Supreme Court sent another audit team on June 16, 2005 and found that no active records had
been lost and after going over the court’s docket books, said team found everything to be in order.

(19) Sometime in March of 2006, someone inquired about the status of the case, and thereafter, the
respondent clerk of court instructed the clerk in charge to look for the records of Civil Case No. X-82 in all
possible places where it may be found, including in the disposed and archived cases section, but the search
yielded nothing.

(20) In the last week of March 2006, complainant Ilda Olorga-Cañal, together with Atty. Rudy Cañal and
some other companions, went to Branch 57 and asked for the records of Civil
Case No. X-82. They were shown the docket book and were informed that neither the respondent clerk of
court nor the clerk in charge had seen said records.

(21) The Supreme Court directed respondent judge to conductan investigation/inquiry regarding Civil Case
No. X-82.
(22) The last entry in the docket book pertaining to Civil Case No. X-82 is the order dated March 5, 1982,
terminating the pre-trial. From then on, nothing was entered therein.

Based on these findings, Justice Acosta recommended that the complaint for infidelity in the custody of
records be dismissed against both respondents because these records were not in their custody when they
were lost. However, he recommended that respondent judge be held liable for his negligence in maintaining
his court’s docket book and fined P5,000.

ISSUE:

Whether Judge Beldia Jr. was guilty of infidelity of custody of records?

RULING:

No. But he was guilty of simple misconduct.

While respondent judge should not be held liable for the loss of the records of Civil Case No. X-82, we agree
with Justice Acosta that the former failed to demonstrate the requisite care and diligence necessary in the
performance of his duty as presiding judge, specifically in ensuring that the entries in the court’s docket
book were updated. Respondent judge himself admitted that the docket book was filled up “haphazardly.”
Indeed, while it is not the presiding judge who makes the entries in the docket book, still … the trial judge
is expected to adopt a system of record management and organize his docket in order to bolster the prompt
and effective dispatch of business. Proper and efficient court management is the responsibility of the judge.
It is incumbent upon judges to devise an efficient recording and filing system in their courts so that no
disorderliness can affect the flow of cases and their speedy disposition.

Respondent judge was therefore negligent in the discharge of his duties. He failed to observe that degree
of care, precaution and vigilance required of his position. Considering his administrative authority over the
court’s personnel, he should have directed them to be diligent in the performance of their functions. He
neglected to properly supervise them, particularly those in charge of the docket books, resulting in
incomplete entries therein.

Judge Beldia was severely reprimanded and was fined Php 15,000 to be deducted from his retirement
benefits

Atty. Mary Emilie T. Villanueva was absolved of the charge against her as when she assumed the post, the
case file was already missing.

11. [G.R. NO. 171636 : April 7, 2009]

NORMAN A. GAID, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

Facts:

Petitioner Norman Gaid was driving his passenger jeepney along a two-lane road where the
Laguindingan National High School is located. At that time, several students were coming out of
the school premises. The victim, Michael Dayata was seen seating on the left side of the road.
From there, Dayata raised his left hand to flag down petitioner's jeepney which was traveling on
the right lane of the road. However, neither the driver nor the conductor noticed him.
An eyewitness then saw Dayata's feet was pinned to the rear wheel of the jeepney, after which,
he laid flat on the ground behind the jeepney. Petitioner felt that the left rear tire of the jeepney
had bounced and the vehicle tilted to the right side. The conductor of the jeepney shouted that a
boy was run over. He jumped off of the jeep and carried the boy to the hospital where he was
declared dead on arrival. Petitioner was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to
homicide.

Both the MCTC of Laguindingan and the RTC found him guilty as charged considering that the
victim was dragged to a distance of 5.70 meters from the point of impact. He was also scored
for "not stopping his vehicle after noticing that the jeepney's left rear tire jolted causing the
vehicle to tilt towards the right.

The CA exonerated petitioner from the charge of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide on
the ground that he was not driving recklessly at the time of the accident. However, the appellate
court still found him to be negligent when he failed "to promptly stop his vehicle to check what
caused the sudden jotting of its rear tire.

Issue:

WON petitioner is guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

Held:

No.

Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from
which material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the
person performing or failing to perform such act. In the instant case, petitioner was driving
slowly at the time of the accident, as testified to by two eyewitnesses.

In this case, the courts below zeroed in on the fact that petitioner did not stop the jeepney when
he felt the bouncing of his vehicle, a circumstance which the appellate court equates with
negligence. Petitioner contends that he did not immediately stop because he did not see
anybody go near his vehicle at the time of the incident.

Assuming arguendo that petitioner had been negligent, it must be shown that his negligence
was the proximate cause of the accident. Proximate cause is defined as that which, in the
natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient, intervening cause, produces the
injury, and without which the result would not have

occurred. In order to establish a motorist's liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it
must be shown that there was a direct causal connection between such negligence and the
injuries or damages complained of. Thus, negligence that is not a substantial contributing factor
in the causation of the accident is not the proximate cause of an injury.

The head injuries sustained by Dayata at the point of impact proved to be the immediate cause
of his death, as indicated in the post-mortem findings. His skull was crushed as a result of the
accident. Had petitioner immediately stopped the jeepney, it would still not have saved the life of
the victim as the injuries he suffered were fatal.
The evidence on record do not show that the jeepney dragged the victim after he was hit and run
over by the jeepney. Quite the contrary, the evidence discloses that the victim was not dragged
at all. In fact, it is the other way around. Bongolto narrated that after the impact, he saw Dayata
left behind the jeepney. Actub saw Dayata in a prone position and bleeding within seconds after
impact. Right after the impact, Mellalos immediately jumped out of the jeepney and saw the victim
lying on the ground. The distance of 5.70 meters is the length of space between the spot where
the victim fell to the ground and the spot where the jeepney stopped as observed by the trial judge
during the ocular inspection at the scene of the accident.

Moreover, mere suspicions and speculations that the victim could have lived had petitioner
stopped can never be the basis of a conviction in a criminal case. The Court must be satisfied
that the guilt of the accused had been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Conviction must rest
on nothing less than a moral certainty of the guilt of the accused. The overriding consideration is
not whether the court doubts the innocence of the accused but whether it entertains doubt as to
his guilt.

Clearly then, the prosecution was not able to establish that the proximate cause of the victim's
death was petitioner's alleged negligence, if at all, even during the second stage of the incident.

If at all again, petitioner's failure to render assistance to the victim would constitute
abandonment of one's victim punishable under Article 275 of the Revised Penal Code.
However, the omission is not covered by the information. Thus, to hold petitioner criminally
liable under the provision would be tantamount to a denial of due process.

Therefore, petitioner must be acquitted at least on reasonable doubt. The award of damages
must also be deleted pursuant to Article 2179 of the Civil Code which states that when the
plaintiff's own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot
recover damages.

12. AIR FRANCE vs. COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. No. 76093/ March 21, 1989
(Negligence of Drivers and Commuters/Bystanders)
V.Mia

DOCTRINE:

“It
is essential before an award of damages that the claimant must
satisfactorily prove during the trial the existence of the factual basis of the
damages and its causal connection to defendant's acts.”
FACTS:

Atty. Narciso Morales, a lawyer, thru his representative purchased an airline ticket from Aspac
Management Corporation, petitioner's General Sales Agent in Makati. The itinerary covered by the ticket
included several cities, with certain segments thereof restricted by markings of "non endorsable' and 'valid
on Air France only.
While in New York, U.S.A., Atty. Morales suffered an ear infection which necessitated medical
treatment. He obtained three medical certificate. From New York, he flew to Paris, Stockholm and then
Copenhagen where he made representations with petitioner's office to shorten his trip by deleting some of
the cities in the itinerary. Atty. Morales was informed that, as a matter of procedure, confirmation of
petitioner's office in Manila (as ticketing office) must be secured before shortening of the route (already
paid for). The Air France Manila replied in negative with the request of Atty. Morales to shorten his trip.
After reiterating his need to flying home on a shorter route due to his ear infection, and presentation of
supporting medical certificates, again, the airline office made the necessary request to Manila a Hamburg,
Paris, Geneva, Rome, Paris, Hongkong and Manila route. Still, the request was denied. Atty. Morales,
therefore, had to buy an entirely new set of tickets, paying 1,914 German marks for the homeward route.

Upon arrival in Manila, Atty. Morales filed a complaint for breach of contract of carriage and
damages.

The CFI found Air France was in evident bad faith for violation of the contract of carriage,
aggravated by the threatening attitude of its employees in Hamburg.

On appeal the Court of Appeals affirmed the CFI's decision with modifications on the award of
damages.

Questioning the factual findings of the CA Air France filed a petition for review.

ISSUE: Whether or not Air France is guilty of Breach of Contract of Carriage.

HELD:

No, Air France is not guilty of Breach of Contract of Carriage. The respondent court's ruling that
there was breach of contract of carriage is premised on petitioner's refusal to re-route Atty. Morales and, in
effect, requiring him to purchase a new set of tickets.

International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Resolution No. 275 e, 2., special note reads:
"Where a fare is restricted and such restrictions are not clearly evident from the required entries on the
ticket, such restrictions may be written, stamped or reprinted in plain language in the
Endorsement/Restrictions" box of the applicable flight coupon(s); or attached thereto by use of an
appropriate notice." Voluntary changes to tickets, while allowable, are also covered by (IATA) Resolution
No. 1013, Art. II, which provides: "1. changes to the ticket requested by the passenger will be subject to
carriers regulations.

Considering the original restrictions on the ticket, it was not unreasonable for Air France to deny
the request. It is essential before an award of damages that the claimant must satisfactorily prove
during the trial the existence of the factual basis of the damages and its causal connection to
defendant's acts.
Atty. Morales failed to substantiate his claim due to failure to present a medical certificate that he
indeed had undergone medical examination upon arrival in Manila. Furthermore, Air France employees in
Hamburg informed Atty. Morales that his tickets were partly stamped "non-endorsable" and "valid on Air
France only." The mere refusal to accede to the passenger's wishes does not necessarily translate into
damages in the absence of bad faith. Atty. Morales has failed to show wanton, malevolent or reckless
misconduct imputable to petitioner in its refusal to re-route. Omissions by ordinary passengers may be
condoned but more is expected of members of the bar who cannot feign ignorance of such limitations and
restrictions. An award of moral and exemplary damages cannot be sustained under the circumstances, but
petitioner has to refund the unused coupons in the Air France ticket to the private respondent.

The judgement appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

13. Banzon v. CA
G.R. No. 47258 - July 13, 1989
Fernan, C.J.
(PANLAQUI)

I. Facts:

Sometime in the year 1952, Maximo R. Sta. Maria obtained several crop loans from PNB. For
these loans, Associated acted as surety for Sta. Maria by filing surety bonds in favor of PNB to
guarantee and answer for the prompt and faithful repayment of said loans. In turn, plaintiff Antonio
R. Banzon and one Emilio R. Naval acted as indemnitors of Associated in the indemnity
agreements, obligating themselves to indemnify and hold it harmless from any liabilities. However,
Sta. Maria failed to pay his crop loan obligations in favor of PNB when the same fell due, and
accordingly, the bank demanded payment from Associated as surety. Instead of paying the bank,
Associated filed a complaint against Maximo R. Sta. Maria and indemnitors Banzon and Naval. A
writ of execution was issued and the properties of Banzon were levied and later on sold in
execution. In 1965, the spouses Pedro Cardenas and Leonila Baluyot were able to execute upon
and buy one of the properties of Banzon to satisfy the judgment debt of Associated in favor of the
Cardenas spouses. The Banzons however refused to vacate the premises and to remove the
improvements thereon. Petitioner spouses Antonio Banzon and Rosa Balmaceda filed a
complaint against Maximo and Valeriana Sta. Maria for actual and moral damages in the total
amount of P251,750.00 allegedly arising from the deprivation of their property due to the Sta.
Marias’ failure and refusal to pay their plain, valid and just obligations with the PNB. The Court of
First Instance ordered the Sta Marias to pay damages. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals
reversed the decision.

II. Issue:

Whether or not respondent Maximo and Valeriana Sta. Maria were liable to the petitioners for the
prejudice and damages the latter suffered.

III. Ruling:

NO. The Court held that it was the trial court that erred when it arrived at the conclusion
that the Sta Marias were responsible for the prejudice caused petitioners. The Court ruled that it
is a settled principle that moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the
defendant’s wrongful act or omission. While ideally such debacle could have been avoided by Sta
Marias’ payment of their obligations to PNB, such fact of non-payment alone, without Associated’s
premature action and subsequent fraudulent acts, could not possibly have resulted in prejudice
and damage complained of. While private respondents’ non-payment was admittedly the remote
cause or the factor which set in motion the ensuing events, Associated’s premature action and
execution were the immediate and direct causes of the damage and prejudice suffered by
petitioners. Active supervening events consisting of said premature and fraudulent acts of the
Associated Insurance and Surety, Inc. had broken the causal connection between the fact of non-
payment and the damage suffered by petitioners, so that their claim should be directed not against
the Sta Marias but against Associated. The Court was convinced as well that the failure of the
Sta Marias to pay their obligations with the PNB was not attended by bad faith or willful intent to
cause injury to petitioners. Under the Civil Code, the damages for which a defendant may be
held liable are those which are the natural and probable consequences of the act or omission
complained of. The prejudice caused petitioners cannot be said to be the natural and probable
consequence of the Sta. Marias’ mere failure to pay their crop loans as such prejudice arose due
to active supervening forces or events.

The petition was denied.

14. SANITARY STEAM LAUNDRY VS CA

FACTS

The truck of petitioner had a collision with the car of the victims. It caused the death of three
persons and injured the others. The truck driver alleged that the jeepney in front of him suddenly
stopped. As such, he swerved to the left and encroach a portion of the opposite lane, which
caused his truck to collide with the car of the victims. He contends that although he is negligent
at first, the driver of the car had the last opportunity to avoid the accident but failed to do so
because of certain traffic rules violations. The RTC ruled in favor of the victims, which ruling the
CA affirmed.

ISSUE

W/N petitioner is liable for his negligence

RULING

YES. It has not been shown how the alleged negligence of the car driver contributed to the
collision between the vehicles. Petitioner has the burden of showing a causal connection
between the injury received and the violation of the traffic rules. He must show that the violation
of the statute was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that it substantially contributed
thereto. Negligence is without legal consequence unless it is a contributing cause of the injury.

Petitioner says that "driving an overloaded vehicle with only one functioning headlight during
nighttime certainly increases the risk of accident," that because the car had only one headlight,
there was "decreased visibility," and that the fact that the vehicle was overloaded and its front
seat overcrowded "decreased [its] maneuverability," However, mere allegations such as these
are not sufficient to discharge its burden of proving clearly that such alleged negligence was the
contributing cause of the injury. Nor is there any basis in fact for petitioner's contention that
because of overcrowding in the front seat of the car there was "decreased maneuverability"
which prevented the car driver from avoiding the panel truck. There is nothing in the testimonies
of the passengers of the car which suggest that the driver had no elbow room for maneuvering
the vehicle. To the contrary, from the testimony of some of the witnesses, it appears that the
driver of the car tried to avoid the collision but because of the emergency created by the
speeding truck coming from the opposite direction he was not able to fully move his car away
from the path of the oncoming vehicle. Clearly, the overcrowding in the front seat was
immaterial.

All these point to the fact that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of
petitioner's driver. As the trial court noted, the swerving of petitioner's panel truck to the opposite
lane could mean not only that petitioner's driver was running the vehicle at a very high speed
but that he was tailgating the passenger jeepney ahead of it as well. Moreover, the truck was
overspeeding because the maximum allowable speed for truck and buses on open country
roads is only 50 kilometers per hour, and he exceeded it.

15. Gilchrist v. Cuddy

29 Phil 542

Facts:

Cuddy leased a cinematographic film “Zigomar” to Gilchrist who owned a theater in Iloilo
for one week at an agreed rental of P125. A few days to the date of delivery, Cuddy sent
the money back to Gilchrist. Cuddy rented the film to Espejo and his partner Zaldarriaga
P350 for the week knowing that it was rented to someone else and that Cuddy accepted
it because he was paying about three times as much as he had contracted with Gilchrist
but they didn't know the identity of the other party.

Gilchrist filed for injunction against Cuddy, Espejo, and Zaldarriaga. Both the trial court
and CA granted the injunction and found that there is a contract between Gilchrist and
Cuddy.

Issue:

WON Espejo and Zaldarriaga should be liable for damages though they do not know the
identity of Gilchrist.

Ruling:

Yes. The liability of the appellants arises from unlawful acts and not from contractual
obligations, as they were under no such obligations to induce Cuddy to violate his contract
with Gilchrist. So that if the action of Gilchrist had been one for damages, it would be
governed by chapter 2, title 16, book 4 of the Civil Code. Article 1902 of that Code
provides that a person who, by act or omission, causes damages to another when there
is fault or negligence, shall be liable for the damage done. There is nothing in this article
which requires as a condition precedent to the liability of a tortfeasor that he must know
the identity of the victim.

Judgment is affirmed, with costs against the appellants.

16. NATIVIDAD V. ANDAMO and EMMANUEL R. ANDAMO, petitioners, vs.


INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (First Civil Cases Division) and
MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE, INC., respondents.
[G.R. No. 74761 November 6, 1990]

FACTS:

Petitioner spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo are the owners of a parcel of land
situated in Silang, Cavite. The land is adjacent to the land of private respondent,
Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Inc.,(MOLLSI) a religious corporation.

Within the land of respondent corporation, waterpaths and contrivances, including an


artificial lake, were constructed.This allegedly inundated and eroded petitioners' land,
caused a young man to drown, damaged petitioners' crops and plants, washed away
costly fences, endangered the lives of petitioners and their laborers during rainy and
stormy seasons, and exposed plants and other improvements to destruction.

Andamo spouses then instituted a criminal action before the RTC of Cavite against Efren
Musngi, Orlando Sapuay and Rutillo Mallillin, officers and directors of herein respondent
corporation, for destruction by means of inundation under Article 324 of the Revised Penal
Code

Andamos filed another action against MOLLSI, this time a civil case for damages with
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction before the same court. MOLLSI
filed an answer and opposed to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Hearings
were conducted including ocular inspections on the land. Thereafter, The trial court issued
an order suspending further hearings in the civil case until after judgment in the criminal
case.

Resolving respondent corporation's motion to dismiss filed on June 22, 1984, the trial
court issued on August 27, 1984 the disputed order dismissing the case for lack of
jurisdiction, as the criminal case which was instituted ahead of the civil case was still
unresolved.

Andamo spouses appealed the order to the IA. The IAC affimed the order of the lower
court. The MR was denied. Hence, this petition

ISSUE: Whether a corporation, which has built through its agents, waterpaths, water
conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby causing inundation and 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 resulting civil case can proceed
independently of the criminal case.
HELD: YES. IAC DECISION REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The trial court is ordered to
proceed with the civil case independently of the criminal case.

The civil action is one under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts.All
the elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit:
i. damages suffered by the plaintiff;
ii. fault or negligence of the defendant, or some other person for whose acts he must
respond; and
iii. the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant
and the damages incurred by the plaintiff.

In the present case: the waterpaths and contrivances built by respondent corporation are
alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners. There is therefore, an assertion of a
causal connection between the act of building these waterpaths and the damage
sustained by petitioners. Such action if proven constitutes fault or negligence which may
be the basis for the recovery of damages.

The court cited the case of Samson vs. Dionisio; to wit:

“the Court applied Article 1902, now Article 2176 of the Civil Code, ruling that: "any person
who without due authority constructs a bank or dike, stopping the flow or communication
between a creek or a lake and a river, thereby causing loss and damages to a third party
who, like the rest of the residents, is entitled to the use and enjoyment of the stream or
lake, shall be liable to the payment of an indemnity for loss and damages to the injured
party.”

Applying it in the present case, the alleged presence of damage to the petitioners, the act
or omission of respondent corporation supposedly constituting fault or negligence, and
the causal connection between the act and the damage, with no pre-existing contractual
obligation between the parties make a clear case of a quasi delict or culpa aquiliana.

Adjoining landowners 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
of others. An owner may build structures in his own land but such must be all constructed
and maintained using all reasonable care. If the structures cause injury or damage to an
adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter can claim indemnification for the injury or
damage suffered.

Article 2176 of the Civil Code imposes a civil liability on a person for damage caused by
his act or omission constituting fault or negligence, thus: Whoever by act or omission
causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation
between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
chapter.

"Fault or negligence", covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts
criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. A separate
civil action lies against 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 scores, and would be entitled in such an eventuality only to the bigger
award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary.

The distinctness of quasi-delicta is shown in Article 2177 of the Civil Code, which states:
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.

A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a
substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a
delict or crime — a distinction exists between the civil liability arising from a crime and the
responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual.

The same negligence causing damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime
under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual
under the Civil Code. The acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely
irrelevant in the civil case, unless, of course, in the 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 liability would carry with it the extinction
of the civil liability.

17. VERGARA vs. CA and AZARCON


G.R. No. 77679 September 30, 1987
(AJA – Common Carrier, Vehicular Mishap)

DOCTRINE:
A mishap caused by defective brakes cannot be considered as fortuitous in character. Certainly, the defects
were curable and the accident preventable.

FACTS:
This case is an action for damages against petitioner, Vicente Vergara, by the private respondent, Amadeo
Azarcon. The action arose from a vehicular accident that occurred on August 5, 1979 in Gapan, Nueva
Ecija, when Martin Belmonte, while driving a cargo truck belonging to petitioner, rammed "head-on" the
store-residence of the private respondent, causing damages thereto which were inventoried and assessed
at P53,024.22.

The petitioner alleged that his driver Martin Belmonte operated said cargo truck in a very diligent manner;
that the steering wheel refused to respond to his effort and as a result of a blown-out tire and despite
application of his brakes, the said cargo truck hit the store-residence of the private respondent, and that the
said accident was an act of God for which he cannot be held liable.

RTC: rendered judgment in favor of Azarcon, ordered petitioner to pay, jointly and severally with the
Travellers Insurance & Surety Corporation (common carrier kasi, required ang insurance) P53,024.22 as
actual damages,P10,000 as moral damages, P10,000 as exemplary damages and P3,000 attorney’s fees.
CA: affirmed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Vergara is negligent, and guilty of culpa aquiliana.
RULING:
Yes. The Supreme Court held that the petitioner failed to adduce any evidence to overcome the disputable
presumption of negligence on his part in the selection and supervision of his driver. Also, it was established
by competent evidence that the requisites of a quasi-delicts are present in the case at bar. These requisites
are: (DNC)

(1) damages to the plaintiff;


(2) negligence, by act or omission, of which defendant, or some person for whose acts he must respond,
was guilty; and
(3) the connection of cause and effect between such negligence and the damages.

Furthermore, according to the driver of the cargo truck, he applied the brakes but the latter did not work
due to mechanical defect, contrary to the claim of the petitioner, a mishap caused by defective brakes
cannot be considered as fortuitous in character. Certainly, the defects were curable and the accident
preventable.

SC: affirmed. Petition denied.

18. CORINTHIAN GARDENS ASSOCIATION, INC. vs. SPOUSES REYNALDO and MARIA
LUISA TANJANGCO, and SPOUSES FRANK and TERESITA CUASO, respondent.
G.R. No. 160795 June 27, 2008
Facts:

Respondent- spouses Reynaldo and Luisa Tanjangco own Lots 68 and 69 located at Corinthian
Gardens Subdivision, Q.C. On the other hand, Respondent spouses Frank and Teresita Cuaso
own Lot 65 which is adjacent to Tanjangco’s lots.

Before the Cuasos Constructed their house, a relocation survey was necessary. Corinthian
referred Engr, de Dios to the Cuasos for the survey. Before, during and after the construction of
the said house, Corinthian conducted periodic ocular inspections in order to determine
compliance with the approved plans pursuant to the Manual of Rules and Regulations of
Corinthian.6 Unfortunately, after the Cuasos constructed their house employing the services of
C.B. Paraz & Construction Co., Inc. (C.B. Paraz) as builder, their perimeter fence encroached
on the Tanjangcos’ Lot 69 by 87 square meters.

No amicable settlement was reached between the parties. The Tanjangco’ s demanded the
Cuasos to demolish the fence but the latter refused, prompting Tanjangcos to file a suit against
the Cuasos for recovery of possession with damages.

The Cuasos filed a third-party complaint against Corinthian, C.B Paraz, And engr. De Dios.
CUasos faulted Corinthian for approving the relocation survey and building plans without
verifying their accuracy and in making representations as to Engr. De Dios’ integrity and
competence. The Cuasos alleged that had Corinthian exercised diligence in performing its duty,
they would not have been involved in a boundary dispute with the Tanjangcos. Thus, the
Cuasos opined that Corinthian should also be held answerable for any damages that they might
incur as a result of such construction.

(RTC - RULED IN FAVOR OF TANJANGCOS;CUASOS WERE BUILDERS IN GOOD FAITH;


DISMISSED THE THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT AGAINST CORINTHIAN AND ENGR. DE DIOS
FOR LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION)
Tanjangcos, Cuasos, and C.B. Paraz appealed to the CA.

(CA- REVERSED AND SET ASIDE THE RTC DECISION; the Cuasos acted in Bad faith;
Corinthian, C.B Paraz and Engr. De Dios were all found negligent)

(CUASOS APPLIED FOR TRO TO ENJOIN THE DEMOLITION OF THE PERIMETER FEMCE,
but was denied)

Corinthian claims that the approval of the building plan was not tainted with negligence,
theircontention is that while Corinthians conducts actual site inspections, the inspection and
approval of the building plans are limited to “table” inspection.

ISSUE : WON CORINTHIAN is negligent

Ruling: Yes, the Court held that Corinthian is negligent.

ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the
provisions of this Chapter.

In every tort case filed under this provision, plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of
evidence: (1) the damages suffered by the plaintiff; (2) the fault or negligence of the defendant
or some other person for whose act he must respond; and (3) the connection of cause and
effect between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred.

Undeniably, the perimeter fence of the Cuasos encroached on Lot 69 owned by the Tanjangcos
by 87 square meters as duly found by both the RTC and the CA in accordance with the
evidence on record. As a result, the Tanjangcos suffered damage in having been deprived of
the use of that portion of their lot encroached upon. Thus, the primordial issue to be resolved in
this case is whether Corinthian was negligent under the circumstances and, if so, whether such
negligence contributed to the injury suffered by the Tanjangcos.

A negligent act is an inadvertent act; it may be merely carelessly done from a lack of ordinary
prudence and may be one which creates a situation involving an unreasonable risk to another
because of the expectable action of the other, a third person, an animal, or a force of nature. A
negligent act is one from which an ordinary prudent person in the actor's position, in the same
or similar circumstances, would foresee such an appreciable risk of harm to others as to cause
him not to do the act or to do it in a more careful manner.

The test to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows:
Did the defendant in committing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution
which an ordinary person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of
negligence. The law, in effect, adopts the standard supplied by the imaginary conduct of the
discreet paterfamilias in Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not
determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The
law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in a man of ordinary
intelligence and prudence, and determines liability according to that standard.
While the issue of Corinthian's alleged negligence is factual in character, a review by this Court
is proper because the CA's factual findings differ from those of the RTC's. Thus, after a
meticulous review of the evidence on record, the Court ruled that the CA committed no
reversible error when it deviated from the findings of fact of the RTC. The CA's findings and
conclusions are substantiated by the evidence on record and are more in accord with law and
reason. Indeed, it is clear that Corinthian failed to exercise the requisite diligence in insuring that
the Cuasos abide by its Manual of Rules and Regulations, thereby resulting in the
encroachment on the Tanjangcos’ property

.By its Manual of Rules and Regulations, it is reasonable to assume that Corinthian, through its
representative, in the approval of building plans, and in the conduct of periodic inspections of
on-going construction projects within the subdivision, is responsible in insuring compliance with
the approved plans, inclusive of the construction of perimeter walls, which in this case is the
subject of dispute between the Tanjangcos and the Cuasos. It is not just or equitable to relieve
Corinthian of any liability when, by its very own rules, it imposes its authority over all its
members to the end that "no new construction can be started unless the plans are approved by
the Association and the appropriate cash bond and pre-construction fees are paid." Moreover,
Corinthian can impose sanctions for violating these rules. Thus, the proposition that the
inspection is merely a "table inspection" and, therefore, should exempt Corinthian from liability,
is unacceptable. After all, if the supposed inspection is merely a "table inspection" and the
approval granted to every member is a mere formality, then the purpose of the rules would be
defeated. Compliance therewith would not be mandatory, and sanctions imposed for violations
could be disregarded. Corinthian's imprimatur on the construction of the Cuasos' perimeter wall
over the property of the Tanjangcos assured the Cuasos that everything was in order.

In sum, Corinthian’s failure to prevent the encroachment of the Cuasos’ perimeter wall into
Tanjangcos’ property – despite the inspection conducted – constitutes negligence and, at the
very least, contributed to the injury suffered by the Tanjangcos.

19. GREENSTAR EXPRESS, INC. VS. UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION AND NISSIN
UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION
G.R. No. 205090 October 17, 2016
[NKYB]

FACTS:
Petitioner Greenstar Express, Inc. (Greenstar) is domestic corporation engaged in the business
of public transportation, while petitioner Fruto L. Sayson, Jr. (Sayson) is one of its bus drivers.
Respondents Universal Robina Corporation (URC) and Nissin Universal Robina Corporation
(NURC) are domestic corporations engaged in the food business. NURC is a subsidiary of URC.
URC is the registered owner of a Mitsubishi L-300 van (URC van).

At about 6:50 a.m, on February 25, 2003, which was then a declared national holiday, petitioner's
bus, which was then being driven toward the direction of Manila by Sayson, collided head-on with
the URC van, which was then being driven Quezon province-bound by NURC 's Operations
Manager, Renante Bicomong (Bicomong). Bicomong died on the spot while the colliding vehicles
sustained considerable damage.

RTC: Dismissed the Complaint as well as the counterclaim


CA: Affirmed the decision of the RTC. Denied MR.
SC: Affirmed the decision of CA in toto.

ISSUE: Whether or not URC, being the employer and owner of the van driven by Bicomong which
collided with greenstar bus should be held liable for damages premised on negligence.

RULING:
In Caravan Travel and Tours International, Inc. v. Abejar, the Court made the following relevant
pronouncement: The resolution of this case must consider two (2) rules:
First, Article 2180's specification that employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
employees acting within the scope of their assigned tasks. Second, the operation of the
registered-owner rule that registered owners are liable for death or injuries caused by the
operation of their vehicles.

Therefore, the appropriate approach is that in cases where both the registered-owner rule and
Article 2180 apply, the plaintiff must first establish that the employer is the registered owner of the
vehicle in question. Once the plaintiff successfully proves ownership, there arises a disputable
presumption that the requirements of Article 2180 have been proven. As a consequence, the
burden of proof shifts to the defendant to show that no liability under Article 2180 has arisen.

This it can do by presenting proof of any of the following: first, that it had no employment
relationship with Bautista; second, that Bautista acted outside the scope of his assigned tasks; or
third, that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of
Bautista.

In the present case, it has been established that on the day of the collision - or on Februaruy 25,
2003 - URC was the registered owner of the URC van, although it appears that it was designated
for use by NURC, as it was officially assigned to the latter's Logistics Manager, Florante Soro-
Soro (Soro-Soro); that Bicomong was the Operations Manager of NURC and assigned to the First
Cavite Industrial Estate; that there was no work as the day was declared a national holiday; that
Bicomong was on his way home to his family in Quezon province; that the URC van was not
assigned to Bicomong as well, but solely for SoroSoro' s official use.

Applying the pronouncement in the Caravan Travel and Tours case, it must be said that when by
evidence the ownership of the van and Bicomong's employment were proved, the presumption of
negligence on respondents' part attached, as the registered owner of the van and as Bicomong's
employer. The burden of proof then shifted to respondents to show that no liability under Article
2180 arose. This may be done by proof of any of the following: 1. That they had no employment
relationship with Bicomong; or 2. That Bicomong acted outside the scope of his assigned tasks;
or 3. That they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision
of Bicomong.
Respondents succeeded in overcoming the presumption of negligence, having shown that when
the collision took place, Bicomong was not in the performance of his work; that he was in
possession of a service vehicle that did not belong to his employer NURC, but to URC, and which
vehicle was not officially assigned to him, but to another employee; that his use of the URC van
was unauthorized - even if he had used the same vehicle in furtherance of a personal undertaking
in the past; that the accident occurred on a holiday and while Bicomong was on his way home to
his family in Quezon province; and that Bicomong had no official business whatsoever in his
hometown in Quezon, or in Laguna where the collision occurred, his area of operations being
limited to the Cavite area.

On the other hand, the evidence suggests that the collision could have been avoided if Sayson
exercised care and prudence, given the circumstances and information that he had immediately
prior to the accident. From the trial court's findings and evidence on record, it would appear that
immediately prior to the collision, which took place very early in the morning - or at around 6:50
a.m., Sayson saw that the URC van was traveling fast Quezon-bound on the shoulder of the
opposite lane about 250 meters away from him; that at this point, Sayson was driving the
Greenstar bus Manila-bound at 60 kilometers per hour; that Sayson knew that the URC van was
traveling fast as it was creating dust clouds from traversing the shoulder of the opposite lane; that
Sayson saw the URC van get back into its proper lane but directly toward him; that despite being
apprised of the foregoing information, Sayson, instead of slowing down, maintained his speed
and tried to swerve the Greenstar bus, but found it difficult to do so at his speed; that the collision
or point of impact occurred right in the middle of the road; and that Sayson absconded from the
scene immediately after the collision.

From the foregoing facts, one might think that from the way he was driving immediately before
the collision took place, Bicomong could have fallen asleep or ill at the wheel, which led him to
gradually steer the URC van toward the shoulder of the highway; and to get back to the road after
realizing his mistake, Bicomong must have overreacted, thus overcompensating or oversteering
to the left, or toward the opposite lane and right into Sayson's bus. Given the premise of dozing
off or falling ill, this explanation is not far-fetched. The collision occurred very early in the mommg
in Alaminos, Laguna. Sayson himself testified that he found Bicomong driving on the service road
or shoulder of the highway 250 meters away, which must have been unpaved, as it caused dust
clouds to rise on the heels of the URC van. And these dust clouds stole Sayson's attention, leading
him to conclude that the van was running at high speed. At any rate, the evidence places the point
of impact very near the middle of the road or just within Sayson's lane.

In other words, the collision took place with Bicomong barely encroaching on Sayson's lane. This
means that prior to and at the time of collision, Sayson did not take any defensive maneuver to
prevent the accident and minimize the impending damage to life and property, which resulted in
the collision in the middle of the highway, where a vehicle would normally be traversing. If Sayson
took defensive measures, the point of impact should have occurred further inside his lane or not
at the front of the bus - but at its side, which should have shown that Sayson either slowed down
or swerved to the right to avoid a collision.

The collision was certainly foreseen and avoidable but Sayson took no measures to avoid it.
Rather than exhibit concern for the welfare of his passengers and the driver of the oncoming
vehicle, who might have fallen asleep or suddenly fallen ill at the wheel, Sayson coldly and
uncaringly stood his ground, closed his eyes, and left everything to fate, without due regard for
the consequences. Such a suicidal mindset cannot be tolerated, for the grave danger it poses to
the public and passengers availing of petitioners' services. To add insult to injury, Sayson hastily
fled the scene of the collision instead of rendering assistance to the victims - thus exhibiting a
selfish, cold-blooded attitude and utter lack of concern motivated by the self-centered desire to
escape liability, inconvenience, and possible detention by the authorities, rather than secure the
well-being of the victims of his own negligent act.

The doctrine of last clear chance provides that where both parties are negligent but the negligent
act of one is appreciably later in point of time than that of the other, or where it is impossible to
determine whose fault or negligence brought about the occurrence of the incident, the one who
had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm but failed to do so, is chargeable with
the consequences arising therefrom. Stated differently, the rule is that the antecedent negligence
of a person does not preclude recovery of damages caused by the supervening negligence of the
latter, who had the last fair chance to prevent the impending harm by the exercise of due diligence.

20. GUMABON VS CA

Facts:

Anna Marie Gumabon, together with her mother and siblings, deposited to the PNB a
Foreign Exchange Time Deposit which she was issued a Foreign Exchange Time Deposit
(FXCTD). The Gumabons also maintained eight (8) savings account on the same bank.
Anna Marie decided to consolidate the eight (8) savings accounts and to withdraw P-
2,727,235.85 from the consolidated savings account to help her sister's financial needs.

Anna Marie called the PNB employee handling her accounts, Reino Antonio Salvoro
(Salvoro), to facilitate the consolidation of the savings accounts and the withdrawal. When
she went to the bank on thereafter, she was informed that she could not withdraw from
the savings accounts since her bank records were missing and Salvoro could not be
contacted.

She presented her two FXCTDs, but was also unable to withdraw against them.
Fernandez informed her that the bank would still verify and investigate before allowing
the withdrawal since Salvoro had not reported for work. Thus, Anna Marie sent two
demand letters dated April 23 and April 25, 2003 to the PNB.

After a month, the PNB finally consolidated the savings accounts and issued a passbook
for Savings Account (SA) No. 6121200. The PNB also confirmed that the total deposits
amounted to P-2,734,207.36. Anna Marie, her mother, and the PNB executed a Deed of
Waiver and Quitclaim dated May 23, 2003 to settle all questions regarding the
consolidation of the savings accounts. After withdrawals, the balance of her consolidated
savings account was P250,741.82.
On July 30, 2003, the PNB sent letters to Anna Marie to inform her that the PNB refused
to honor its obligation under FXCTD Nos. 993902 and 993992, and that the PNB withheld
the release of the balance of P-250,741.82 in the consolidated savings account.
According to the PNB, Anna Marie pre-terminated, withdrew and/or debited sums against
her deposits.

Thus, Anna Marie filed before the RTC a complaint for sum of money and damages
against the PNB and Fernandez, alleging that PNB had been negligent in its acts as
banking institution.

PNB argued that they should be absolved because it was Salvoro whom Anna Marie had
transacted, the former committing the wrong acts. PNB also alleged that Anna Marie is
guilty of contributory negligence for transacting with Salvoro.

RTC - ruled in favor of Anna Marie

CA - reversed the lower court’s ruling

Issue: WON PNB is liable to Anna Marie for actual, moral, exemplary damages for its
negligent acts as a banking institution.

Ruling: Yes, SC reversed CA. Since the PNB is clearly liable to Anna Marie for her
deposits, the Court now determines PNB's liability for damages under existing laws and
jurisprudence.

Section 2 of Republic Act No. 8791, declares the State's recognition of the "fiduciary
nature of banking that requires high standards of integrity and performance." It cannot be
overemphasized that the banking business is impressed with public interest. The trust
and confidence of the public to the industry is given utmost importance. Thus, the bank
is under obligation to treat its depositor's accounts with meticulous care, having in mind
the nature of their relationship. The bank is required to assume a degree of diligence
higher than that of a good father of a family.

As earlier settled, the PNB was negligent for its failure to update and properly handle
Anna Marie's accounts. This is patent from the PNB's letter to Anna Marie, admitting the
error and unauthorized withdrawals from her account. Moreover, Anna Marie was led to
believe that the amounts she has in her accounts would remain because of the Deed of
Waiver and Quitclaim executed by her, her mother, and PNB. Assuming arguendo that
Anna Marie made the contested withdrawals, due diligence requires the PNB to record
the transactions in her passbooks.

The Court has established in a number of cases the standard of care required from banks,
and the bank's liability for the damages sustained by the depositor. The bank is not
absolved from liability by the fact that it was the bank's employee who committed the
wrong and caused damage to the depositor. Article 2180 of the New Civil Code provides
that the owners and managers of an establishment are responsible for damages caused
by their employees while performing their functions.

In addition, we held in PNB v. Pike, that although the bank's employees are the ones
negligent, a bank is primarily liable for the employees' acts because banks are expected
to exercise the highest degree of diligence in the selection and supervision of their
employees.

Indeed, a great possibility exists that Salvoro was involved in the unauthorized
withdrawals. Anna Marie entrusted her accounts to and made her banking transactions
only through him. Salvaro's unexplained disappearance further confirms this Court's
suspicions. The Court is alarmed that he was able to repeatedly do these unrecorded
transactions without the bank noticing it. This only shows that the PNB has been negligent
in the supervision of its employees.

As to contributory negligence, the Court agrees with the RTC that the PNB failed to
substantiate its allegation that Anna Marie was guilty of contributory negligence.

Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured party, contributing as a legal
cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard to which he is required
to conform for his own protection.Whether contributory negligence transpired is a factual
matter that must be proven.

In the present case, Anna Marie cannot be held responsible for entrusting her account
with Salvoro. As shown in the records, Salvoro was the bank's time deposit specialist.
Anna Marie cannot thus be faulted if she engaged the bank's services through Salvoro
for transactions related to her time deposits.

21) PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC. vs. BAESA


G.R. Nos. 79050-51 November 14, 1989.
(Inapplicability of the doctrine of last clear chance)
(CHUA)

FACTS:

Spouses Baesa, their 4 children, the Ico spouses and their son and 7 other people
boarded a passenger jeep driven by David Ico to go to a picnic in Isabela, to celebrate the 5th
wedding anniversary of the Baesa spouses.
While they were proceeding towards Malalam River at a speed of about 20 kph, a
speeding PANTRANCO bus from Aparri, on a route to Manila, encroached on the jeepney’s
lane while negotiating a curve, and collided with it.

As a result, the entire Baesa family, except for their daughter Maricar Baesa, as well
as David Ico, died, and the rest suffered from injuries. Maricar Baesa, through her guardian
filed separate actions for damages arising from quasi-delict against PANTRANCO.

In its answer, PANTRANCO, aside from pointing to the late David Ico’s alleged
negligence as the proximate cause of the accident, invoked the defense of due diligence in
the selection and supervision of its driver, Ambrosio Ramirez.

On July 3, 1984, the CFI of Pangasinan rendered a decision against PANTRANCO.


PANTRANCO raised the case before the CA but the appellate court affirmed the decision of
the trial court.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the doctrine of the "last clear chance" applies in this case

RULING:

The doctrine applies only in a situation where the plaintiff was guilty of prior or
antecedent negligence but the defendant, who had the last fair chance to avoid the impending
harm and failed to do so, is made liable for all the consequences of the accident
notwithstanding the prior negligence of the plaintiff [Picart v. Smith, 37 Phil. 809 (1918);
Glan People’s Lumber and Hardware, Et. Al. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, Cecilia Alferez
Vda. de Calibo, Et Al., G.R. No. 70493, May 18, 1989]. The subsequent negligence of the
defendant in failing to exercise ordinary care to avoid injury to plaintiff becomes the
immediate or proximate cause of the accident which intervenes between the accident and
the more remote negligence of the plaintiff, thus making the defendant liable to the plaintiff
[Picart v. Smith, supra].

Generally, the last clear chance doctrine is invoked for the purpose of making a
defendant liable to a plaintiff who was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence, although it
may also be raised as a defense to defeat claim for damages.

Contrary to the petitioner’s contention, the doctrine of "last clear chance" finds no
application in this case. For the doctrine to be applicable, it is necessary to show that the
person who allegedly had the last opportunity to avert the accident was aware of the
existence of the peril or should, with exercise of due care, have been aware of it. One cannot
be expected to avoid an accident or injury if he does not know or could not have known the
existence of the peril. In this case, there is nothing to show that the jeepney driver David Ico
knew of the impending danger. When he saw at a distance that the approaching bus was
encroaching on his lane, he did not immediately swerve the jeepney to the dirt shoulder on
his right since he must have assumed that the bus driver will return the bus to its own lane
upon seeing the jeepney approaching from the opposite direction.

By the time David Ico must have realized that the bus was not returning to its own
lane, it was already too late to swerve the jeepney to his right to prevent an accident. The
speed at which the approaching bus was running prevented David Ico from swerving the
jeepney to the right shoulder of the road in time to avoid the collision. Thus, even assuming
that the jeepney driver perceived the danger a few seconds before the actual collision, he had
no opportunity to avoid it. This Court has held that the last clear chance doctrine "can never
apply where the party charged is required to act instantaneously, and if the injury cannot be
avoided by the application of all means at hand after the peril is or should have been
discovered"

22. GLAN PEOPLE’S LUMBER AND HARDWARE et al vs. IAC et al


G.R. No. 70493, May 18, 1989
JYDM

FACTS:
Engineer Calibo, Roranes, and Patos were on the jeep, with Calibo at the wheel, as it
approached a bridge going towards the direction of Davao City. At about that time, the cargo
truck, drived by Zacarias coming from the opposite direction of Davao City had just crossed said
bridge. At about 59 yards after crossing the bridge, the cargo truck and the jeep collided as a
consequence of which Engineer Calibo died while Roranes and Patos sustained physical injuries.
Zacarias was unhurt. As a result of the impact, the left side of the truck was slightly damaged
while the left side of the jeep, was extensively damaged. After the impact, the jeep fell and rested
on its right side on the asphalted road a few meters to the rear of the truck, while the truck stopped
on its wheels on the road.

A case for damages was filed by the surviving spouse and children of the late Engineer
Calibo against the driver and owners of the cargo truck with the CFI of Bohol. Accordingly, the
trial court dismissed the complaint “for insufficiency of evidence”

The Court of Appeals saw things differently. It rendered judgment on the plaintiffs’
appeal, reversing the decision of the Trial Court. It found Zacarias to be negligent and his
negligence “gave rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of his employer, and
their liability is both primary and solidary.” It therefore ordered “the defendants jointly and
solidarily to indemnify the plaintiffs

The defendants have appealed to this Court on certiorari and pray for a reversal of the
judgment of the IAC which, it is claimed, ignored or ran counter to the established facts
ISSUE:

1. WON the decision of the IAC was erroneous


2. WON the doctrine of last clear chance is applicable in this case

HELD: the appealed judgment of the IAC is hereby REVERSED

1. YES. The SC found Calibo negligent instead, because of the following:

1. It is alleged that at the time of the collision, the truck was occupying 25 cm of the jeep’s lane.
However it was found out that the center stripe of the road is misaligned and with the correct
calculation of the width of the road, the truck on still on its proper lane and it was actually the jeep
who is intruding the truck’s lane.

2. Being well within his own lane, he had no duty to swerve out of the jeep’s way as said Court
would have had him do. And even supposing that he was in fact partly inside the opposite lane,
coming to a full stop with the jeep still 30 meters away cannot be considered an unsafe or
imprudent action.

3. Unlike Zacarias who readily submitted himself to investigation by the police, Calibo’s
companions, Roranes and Patos refused to be so investigated or give statements to the police
officers. Zacarias had told Patrolman Dimaano at the scene of the collision and later confirmed in
his written statement at the police headquarters that the jeep had been “zigzagging,” which is to
say that it was travelling or being driven erratically at the time. The other investigator also testified
that eyewitnesses to the accident had remarked on the jeep’s “zigzagging.” There was also
testimony that Calibo was drunk while driving the jeep.

2. YES. Both drivers, as the Appellate Court found, had had a full view of each other’s vehicle
from a distance of 150 meters. The truck had been brought to a stop while the jeep was still thirty
meters away. From these facts the logical conclusion emerges that the driver of the jeep had
what judicial doctrine has appropriately called the last clear chance to avoid the accident,
while still at that distance of thirty meters from the truck, by stopping in his turn or
swerving his jeep away from the truck, either of which he had sufficient time to do while
running at a speed of only thirty kilometers per hour. In those circumstances, his duty was to
seize that opportunity of avoidance, not merely rely on a supposed right to expect the truck to
swerve and leave him a clear path.

The doctrine of the last clear chance provides as valid and complete a defense to accident liability
today as it did when invoked and applied in the 1918 case of Picart vs. Smith, supra, which
involved a similar state of facts.

Since said ruling clearly applies to exonerate petitioner Zacarias and his employer (and co-
petitioner) George Lim, an inquiry into whether or not the evidence supports the latter’s additional
defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of said driver is no longer necessary
and wig not be undertaken. The fact is that there is such evidence in the record which has not
been controverted.

23 Phoenix Construction, Inc. and ARMANDO U. CARBONEL vs.


IAC and Leonardo Dionisio
G.R. No. L-65295 March 10, 1987

J. Feliciano (BME)

DOCTRINE: The common law notion of last clear chance permitted the courts to grant recovery
to a plaintiff who had also been negligent provided that the defendant had the last clear chance
to avoid the casualty and failed to do so.

The “last clear chance doctrine of common law imported into our jurisdiction has no
role to play in a jurisdiction where the common law concept of contributory negligence as an
absolute bar to recovery by the plaintiff, has itself been rejected in Art. 2179 of the NCC. Our
law on quasi-delicts seeks to reduce the risks and burdens of living society and to allocate them
among the members of the society.

FACTS: On 15 November 1975, at about 1:30 a.m., private respondent Leonardo Dionisio was
on his way home from a cocktails-and-dinner meeting with his boss. He had taken "a shot or
two" of liquor. He was driving his Volkswagen car and had just crossed the intersection, not
far from his home when his car headlights suddenly failed. He switched his headlights on
"bright" and thereupon he saw a Ford dump truck looming some 2-1/2 meters away from
his car. The dump truck, owned by and registered in the name of petitioner Phoenix
Construction Inc. was parked on the right hand side of Lacuna Street (i.e., on the right hand
side of a person facing in the same direction toward which Dionisio's car was proceeding),
facing the oncoming traffic. The dump truck was parked askew (not parallel to the street
curb) in such a manner as to stick out onto the street, partly blocking the way of oncoming
traffic. There were neither lights nor any so-called "early warning" reflector devices set
anywhere near the dump truck, front or rear. The dump truck had earlier that evening been
driven home by petitioner Armando U. Carbonel, its regular driver, with the permission of
his employer Phoenix, in view of work scheduled to be carried out early the following
morning, Dionisio tried to avoid a collision by swerving his car to the left but it was too late
and his car smashed into the dump truck. As a result of the collision, Dionisio suffered some
physical injuries including some permanent facial scars, a "nervous breakdown" and loss of
two gold bridge dentures.

Dionisio commenced an action for damages in the CCFI claiming that the legal and
proximate cause of his injuries was the negligent manner in which Carbonel had parked the
dump truck entrusted to him by his employer Phoenix. Phoenix and Carbonel, on the other
hand, countered that the proximate cause of Dionisio's injuries was his own recklessness in
driving fast at the time of the accident, while under the influence of liquor, without his
headlights on and without a curfew pass. Phoenix also sought to establish that it had
exercised due rare in the selection and supervision of the dump truck driver.
CFI ruled in favor of Dionisio ordering Phoenix and Carbonel to pay plaintiff solidarily
the monetary awards. The two appealed to the IAC which affirmed the decision of the trial
court but modified the award of damages. Hence, petition for review was filed by Phoenix
and Carbonel. Both lower courts had made fairly explicit findings of fact relating to the
manner in which the dump truck was parked along the Street on the basis of which both
courts drew the inference that there was negligence on the part of Carbonel, the dump truck
driver, and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the accident and Dionisio's
injuries.

ISSUE: WON the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the
wrongful — or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked.

RULING: Yes. Private respondent Dionisio was negligent the night of the accident. He was
hurrying home that night and driving faster than he should have been. Worse, he
extinguished his headlights at or near the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos
Streets and thus did not see the dump truck that was parked askew and sticking out onto the
road lane. Nonetheless, SC agreed with both lower courts that the legal and proximate cause
of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the wrongful — or negligent manner in which
the dump truck was parked in other words, the negligence of petitioner Carbonel. There was
a reasonable relationship between petitioner Carbonel's negligence on the one hand and the
accident and respondent's injuries on the other hand, is quite clear. The collision of Dionisio's
car with the dump truck was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the truck driver's
negligence.

The truck driver's negligence was an indispensable and efficient cause. The collision
between the dump truck and the private respondent's car would in a probability not have
occurred had the dump truck not been parked askew without any warning lights or reflector
devices. The improper parking of the dump truck created an unreasonable risk of injury for
anyone driving down General Lacuna Street and for having so created this risk, the truck
driver must be held responsible. Dionisio's negligence, although later in point of time than
the truck driver's negligence and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient
intervening or independent cause. The petitioner truck driver owed a duty to private
respondent Dionisio and others similarly situated not to impose upon them the very risk the
truck driver had created. Dionisio's negligence was not of an independent and overpowering
nature as to cut, as it were, the chain of causation in fact between the improper parking of
the dump truck and the accident, nor to sever the juris vinculum of liability.

SC held that private respondent Dionisio's negligence was "only contributory," that the
"immediate and proximate cause" of the injury remained the truck driver's "lack of due care"
and that consequently respondent Dionisio may recover damages though such damages are
subject to mitigation by the courts (Article 2179, Civil Code of the Philippines).

(“Last clear chance doctrine” See the doctrine above)


Petitioner Carbonel's proven negligence creates a presumption of negligence on the part of
his employer Phoenix in supervising its employees properly and adequately. Phoenix was
not able to overcome this presumption of negligence. The circumstance that Phoenix had
allowed its truck driver to bring the dump truck to his home whenever there was work to be
done early the following morning, when coupled with the failure to show any effort on the
part of Phoenix to supervise the manner in which the dump truck is parked when away from
company premises, is an affirmative showing of culpa in vigilando on the part of Phoenix.

Turning to the award of damages and taking into account the comparative negligence of
private respondent Dionisio on one hand and petitioners Carbonel and Phoenix upon the
other hand, SC believed that the demands of substantial justice are satisfied by allocating
most of the damages on a 20-80 ratio. Thus, 20% of the damages awarded by the respondent
appellate court, except the award of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages and P4,500.00 as
attorney's fees and costs, shall be borne by private respondent Dionisio; only the balance of
80% needs to be paid by petitioners Carbonel and Phoenix who shall be solidarity liable
therefor to the former.

SC affirmed the IAC decision of but it modified the same by reducing the aggregate amount
of compensatory damages, loss of expected income and moral damages private respondent
Dionisio is entitled to by 20% of such amount.

24) FELISA P. DE ROY and VIRGILIO RAMOS vs. COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS
BERNAL, SR., GLENIA BERNAL, LUIS BERNAL, JR., HEIRS OFMARISSA BERNAL, namely,
GLICERIA DELA CRUZ BERNAL and LUIS BERNAL, SR.
No. L-80718 January 29, 1988
(Inapplicability of the doctrine of last clear chance)
(AYA)

FACTS:

The firewall of a burned out building owned by petitioners Feliza P. De Roy and
Virgilio Ramos collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of the
respondent Luis Bernal resulting in injuries to private respondents and the death of Marissa
Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacate their shop
in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former failed to do. In the RTC,
petitioners were found guilty of gross negligence and awarding damages to private
respondents. The RTC’s Order was affirmed in toto by the CA. On September 9, 1987, the
last day of the fifteen-day period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of
time to file a motion for reconsideration, which was eventually denied by the CA in the
Resolution of September 30, 1987. Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration on
September 24, 1987 but this was denied in the Resolution of October 27, 1987.
ISSUE:

1) Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the trial court’s
decision holding petitioner liable under Article 2190 of the Civil Code (eto lang talaga yung
relevant)

2) Whether or not Supreme Court decisions must be published in the Official Gazette before
they can be binding

HELD:

1) NO. The Court of Appeals committed no grave abuse of discretion in affirming the trial
court’s decision holding petitioner liable under Article 2190 of the Civil Code, which provides
that “the proprietor of a building or structure is responsible for the damage resulting from
its total or partial collapse, if it should be due to the lack of necessary repairs.”

Nor was there error in rejecting petitioners’ argument that private respondents had
the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident if only they heeded the warning to vacate the
tailoring shop and, therefore, petitioners’ prior negligence should be disregarded, since the
doctrine of “last clear chance,” which has been applied to vehicular accidents, is
inapplicable to this case.

2) NO. This Court finds that the Court of Appeals did not commit a grave abuse of discretion
when it denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration,
directed entry of judgment and denied their motion for reconsideration. It correctly applied
the rule laid down in Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Japzon, [G.R. No. 70895, August 5,
1985,138 SCRA 461, that the fifteen-day period for appealing or for filing a motion for
reconsideration cannot be extended. In its Resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration, promulgated on July 30, 1986 (142 SCRA 208), this Court en banc restated
and clarified the rule, to wit:

Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be
strictly enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration
may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and
the Intermediate Appellate Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the
Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its sound discretion either grant or
deny the extension requested.

There is no law requiring the publication of Supreme Court decision in the Official
Gazette before they can be binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is
bounden duty of counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the
Supreme Court particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated and
published in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions and in such publications as the
SCRA and law journals.

SC: DENIED the SCA for certiorari for lack of merit

25. Ramos v. CA

321 SCRA 585; December 29, 1999; First Division


J. Kapunan

FACTS: Plaintiff Erlinda Ramos, married to Rogelio E. Ramos, was suffering from occasional
complaints of discomfort due to pains allegedly caused by the presence of a stone in her gall
bladder. She was advised to undergo an operation for the removal of a stone in her gall bladder
and underwent a series of examinations which indicated she was fit for surgery. Through the
intercession of a mutual friend, she and her husband met for the first time Dr. Hosaka, one of the
defendants in this case. They agreed that their date at the operating table at the De Los Santos
Medical Center (DLSMC, another defendant), would be on June 17, 1985 at 9:00 A.M.. Dr.
Hosaka decided that she should undergo a "cholecystectomy" operation after examining the
documents presented to him. Rogelio however, asked Dr. Hosaka to look for a good
anesthesiologist and the latter assured Rogelio that he will get a good anesthesiologist. On June
17, 1985, she was prepared for the operation by the hospital staff. After praying, she was given
injections. Her hands were held by Herminda, her sister in law, as they went down from her room
to the operating room. At the operating room, Herminda saw about two or three nurses and Dr.
Perfecta Gutierrez, the other defendant, who was to administer anesthesia. She then saw people
inside the operating room "moving, doing this and that, [and] preparing the patient for the
operation". As she held the hand of Erlinda Ramos, she then saw Dr. Gutierrez intubating the
hapless patient. She thereafter heard Dr. Gutierrez say, "ang hirap ma-intubate nito, mali yata
ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan". She thereafter noticed bluish discoloration of the
nailbeds of the left hand of the hapless Erlinda even as Dr. Hosaka approached her. She then
heard Dr. Hosaka issue an order for someone to call Dr. Calderon, another anesthesiologist. After
Dr. Calderon arrived at the operating room, she saw this anesthesiologist trying to intubate the
patient. The patient's nailbed became bluish and the patient was placed in a trendelenburg
position. At almost 3:00 P.M., she saw the patient taken to the ICU. About two days thereafter,
Rogelio E. Ramos was able to talk to Dr. Hosaka. The latter informed the former that something
went wrong during the intubation. Reacting to what was told to him, Rogelio reminded the doctor
that the condition of his wife would not have happened, had he looked for a good anesthesiologist.
Doctors Gutierrez and Hosaka were also asked by the hospital to explain what happened to the
patient. The doctors explained that the patient had bronchospasm. Erlinda Ramos stayed at the
ICU for a month. About four months thereafter, the patient was released from the hospital. During
the whole period of her confinement, she incurred hospital bills and was in a comatose condition
She suffered brain damage as a result of the absence of oxygen in her brain for four to five
minutes. After being discharged from the hospital, she has been staying in their residence, still
needing constant medical attention, with her husband Rogelio incurring a monthly expense
ranging from P8,000.00 to P10,000.00. She was also diagnosed to be suffering from "diffuse
cerebral parenchymal damage"
Thus, petitioners filed a civil case for damages with the RTC of Quezon City against herein private
respondents alleging negligence in the management and care of Erlinda Ramos. After considering
the evidence from both sides, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of petitioners. However, the
appellate court rendered a Decision reversing the findings of the trial court.

ISSUE: Did the CA erred in not applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur?

RULING: YES. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the
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 circumstances, may permit an inference
or raise a presumption of negligence, or make out a plaintiff's prima facie case, and present a
question of fact for defendant to meet with an explanation. Where the thing which caused the
injury complained of is shown to be under the management of the defendant or his servants and
the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have its
management or control use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of
explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from or was caused by the defendant's want
of care. 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 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 some explanation by the defendant who is charged with negligence. It is
grounded in the superior logic of ordinary human experience and on the basis of such experience
or common knowledge, negligence may be deduced from the mere occurrence of the accident
itself. However, much has been said that res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of substantive law and, as
such, does not create or constitute an independent or separate ground of liability. Instead, it is
considered as merely evidentiary or in the nature of a procedural rule. It is regarded as a mode
of proof, or a mere procedural of convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves a
plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence. In other words, mere invocation
and application of the doctrine does not dispense with the requirement of proof of negligence. It
is simply a step in the process of such proof, permitting the plaintiff to present along with the proof
of the accident, enough of the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, creating an
inference or presumption of negligence, and to thereby place on the defendant the burden of
going forward with the proof. Still, before resort to the doctrine may be allowed, the following
requisites must be satisfactorily shown:

1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of
someone's negligence;

2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or


defendants; and

3. The possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff responsible
is eliminated.

Medical malpractice cases do not escape the application of this doctrine. We find the doctrine of
res ipsa loquitur appropriate in the case at bar. The damage sustained by Erlinda in her brain
prior to a scheduled gall bladder operation presents a case for the application of res ipsa loquitur.
In the present case, Erlinda submitted herself for cholecystectomy and expected a routine general
surgery to be performed on her gallbladder. On that fateful day she delivered her person over to
the care, custody and control of private respondents who exercised complete and exclusive
control 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 body. However, during the
administration of anesthesia and prior to the performance of cholecystectomy she suffered
irreparable damage to her brain. Thus, without undergoing surgery, she went out of the operating
room already decerebrate and totally incapacitated. Obviously, brain damage, which Erlinda
sustained, is an injury which does not normally occur in the process of a gallbladder operation. In
fact, this kind of situation does not in the absence of negligence of someone in the administration
of anesthesia and in the use of endotracheal tube. Normally, a person being put under anesthesia
is not rendered decerebrate as a consequence of administering such anesthesia if the proper
procedure was followed. Furthermore, the instruments used in the administration of anesthesia,
including the endotracheal tube, were all under the exclusive control of private respondents, who
are the physicians-in-charge. Likewise, petitioner Erlinda could not have been guilty of
contributory negligence because she was under the influence of anesthetics which rendered her
unconscious. Considering that a sound and unaffected member of the body (the brain) is injured
or destroyed while the patient is unconscious and under the immediate and exclusive control of
the physicians, we hold that a practical administration of justice dictates the application of res ipsa
loquitur. Upon these facts and under these circumstances the Court would be able to say, as a
matter of common knowledge and observation, if negligence attended the management and care
of the patient. Moreover, the liability of the physicians and the hospital in this case is not
predicated upon an alleged failure to secure the desired results of an operation nor on an alleged
lack of skill in the diagnosis or treatment as in fact no operation or treatment was ever performed
on Erlinda. Thus, upon all these initial determinations a case is made out for the application of the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

Decision appealed from modified. Costs against respondents.

26. MA-AO SUGAR CENTRAL CO., INC. and GUILLERMO


ARANETA, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS
and HERMINIA FAMOSO, respondents.
G.R. No. 83491. August 27, 1990
(Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor)
(Gail Mendiola)
FACTS:

On March 22, 1980, Famoso was riding with a coemployee in the caboose or “carbonera” of Plymouth No.
12, a cargo train of the petitioner, when the locomotive was suddenly derailed. He and his companion
jumped off to escape injury, but the train fell on its side, caught his legs by its wheels and pinned him down.
He was declared dead on the spot.

The claims for death and other benefits having been denied by the petitioner, the herein private respondent
filed suit in the Regional Trial Court of Bago City.

RTC: Ruled in her favor but deducted from the total damages awarded 25% thereof for the decedent’s
contributory negligence and the total pension of P41,367.60 private respondent and her children would be
receiving from the SSS for the next five years.

The widow appealed, claiming that the deductions were illegal. So did the petitioner, but on the ground that
it was not negligent and therefore not liable at all.
Court of Appeals: Sustained the rulings of the trial court except as to the contributory negligence of the
deceased and disallowed the deductions protested by the private respondent. In this petition, the
respondent court is faulted for finding the petitioner guilty of negligence notwithstanding its defense of due
diligence under Article 2176 of the Civil Code and for disallowing the deductions made by the trial court.

ISSUE:

Whether petitioner is guilty of negligence.

RULING:

Yes, petitioner is guilty of negligence.

Investigation of the accident revealed that the derailment of the locomotive was caused by protruding rails
which had come loose because they were not connected and fixed in place by fish plates. Fish plates are
described as strips of iron 8" to 12" long and 3 1/2" thick which are attached to the rails by 4 bolts, two on
each side, to keep the rails aligned. Although they could be removed only with special equipment, the fish
plates that should have kept the rails aligned could not be found at the scene of the accident.

There is no question that the maintenance of the rails, for the purpose inter alia of preventing derailments,
was the responsibility of the petitioner, and that this responsibility was not discharged. According to Jose
Reyes, its own witness, who was in charge of the control and supervision of its train operations, cases of
derailment in the milling district were frequent and there were even times when such derailments were
reported every hour. The petitioner should therefore have taken more prudent steps to prevent such
accidents instead of waiting until a life was finally lost because of its negligence.

The argument that no one had been hurt before because of such derailments is of course not acceptable.
And neither are we impressed by the claim that the brakemen and the conductors were required to report
any defect in the condition of the railways and to fill out prescribed forms for the purpose. For what is
important is that the petitioner should act on these reports and not merely receive and file them. The fact
that it is not easy to detect if the fish plates are missing is no excuse either. Indeed, it should stress all the
more the need for the responsible employees of the petitioner to make periodic checks and actually go down
to the railroad tracks and see if the fish plates were in place.

At any rate, the absence of the fish plates—whatever the cause or reason—is by itself—alone
proof of the negligence of the petitioner. Res ipsa loquitur. The doctrine was described recently
in Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court, thus: Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under
the management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not
happen if those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence
of an explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.

The petitioner also disclaims liability on the ground of Article 2176 of the Civil Code, contending it has
exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. The Court cannot agree. The
record shows it was in fact lax in requiring them to exercise the necessary vigilance in maintaining the rails
in good condition to prevent the derailments that sometimes happened “every hour.” Obviously, merely
ordering the brakemen and conductors to fill out prescribed forms reporting derailments—which reports
have not been acted upon as shown by the hourly derailments—is not the kind of supervision envisioned by
the Civil Code.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED intoto. The petition is DENIED, with costs against the
petitioner.

27. THE SPOUSES BERNABE AFRICA and SOLEDAD C. AFRICA, and the HEIRS OF
DOMINGA ONG, vs. CALTEX (PHIL.), INC., MATEO BOQUIREN and THE COURT OF
APPEALS.
G.R. No. L-12986 March 31, 1966
Facts:
In the afternoon of March 18, 1948, a fire broke out at the Caltex service station at the corner of
Antipolo St. and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started while gasoline was being hosed from a tank truck
into the underground storage, right at the opening of the receiving tank where the nozzle of the
hose was inserted. The fire spread to and burned several houses. The owners, among them
petitioner spouses Africa and heirs of Ong, sued respondents Caltex Phil., Inc., the alleged owner
of the station, and Mateo Boquiren, the agent in charge of its operation, for damages. The CFI
and CA found that the petitioners failed to prove negligence of the respondents, and that there
was due care in the premises and with respect to the supervision of their employees.

Issue:
Whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin of the fire, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur
should apply so as to presume negligence on the part of the respondents.

Held:
Yes.
Res ipsa loquitur literally means “the thing or transaction speaks for itself.” For the doctrine of res
ipsa loquitur to apply, the following requisites should be present: (a) the accident is of a kind which
ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence; (b) it is caused by an
instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or defendants; and (c) the possibility
of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff responsible is eliminated. In the case at
bar, the gasoline station, with all its appliances, equipment and employees, was under the control
of respondents. A fire occurred therein and spread to and burned the neighboring houses. The
persons who knew or could have known how the fire started were respondents and their
employees, but they gave no explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable inference
that the incident happened because of want of care. The negligence of the employees was the
proximate cause of the fire, which in the ordinary course of things does not happen. Therefore,
the petitioners are entitled to the award for damages.

28. Ludo and Luym Corporation vs. CA


GR No. 125483/Feb 1, 2001
(Res Ipsa Loquitur)
V.Mia

DOCTRINE:

“Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the management of the
defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those
who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an
explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.

The doctrine recognizes that parties may establish prima facie negligence without direct proof and
allows the principle to substitute for specific proof of negligence. This is invoked when under the
circumstances, direct evidence is absent and not readily available."

FACTS:
Petitioner Ludo & Luym Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in copra
processing with plant and business offices in Cebu City. Private Respondent Gabisan Shipping
Lines was the registered owner and operator of the motor vessel MV Miguela, while the other
private respondent, Anselmo Olasiman, was its captain.

Petitioner owns and operates a private wharf used by vessels for loading and unloading of copra
and other processed products. Among its wharf’s facilities are fender pile clusters for docking and
mooring.

On May 21, 1990, at around 1:30 P.M., while MV Miguela was docking at petitioner’s wharf, it
rammed and destroyed a fender pile cluster. Petitioner demanded damages from private
respondents. The latter refused. Hence, petitioner filed a complaint for damages before the
Regional Trial Court of Cebu.

Private respondents denied the incident and the damage. Their witnesses claimed that the damage,
if any, must have occurred prior to their arrival and caused by another vessel or by ordinary wear
and tear.

In finding in favor of petitioner, the trial court found that it was able to prove by preponderance of
evidence that MV Miguela rammed and damaged the pile cluster and that the officers and crew of
MV Miguela were negligent; and that respondents are solidarily liable for the damages.

Upon private respondent’s appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, the subsequent MR
was denied. Hence, this petition where petitioner contends that the CA departed from the rule of Res Ipsa
Loquitur.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur is applicable in this case.

RULING:

Yes, the appellate court overlooked the fact that aside from Naval’s testimony, the trial
court also relied on the principle of res ipsa loquitur to establish private respondents’ negligence.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was explained in Batiquin v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 334
(1996), thus:

Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the management of the defendant,
and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have
the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an
explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.

The doctrine recognizes that parties may establish prima facie negligence without direct
proof and allows the principle to substitute for specific proof of negligence. This is invoked
when under the circumstances, direct evidence is absent and not readily available. 19

In our view, all the requisites for recourse to this doctrine exist. First, MV Miguela was under the
exclusive control of its officers and crew. Petitioner did not have direct evidence on what transpired
within as the officers and crew maneuvered the vessel to its berthing place. We note the Court of
Appeals’ finding that Naval and Espina were not knowledgeable on the vessel’s maneuverings,
and could not testify on the negligence of the officers and crew. Second, aside from the testimony
that MV Miguela rammed the cluster pile, private respondent did not show persuasively other
possible causes of the damage.1ibrary

Applying now the above, there exists a presumption of negligence against private respondents
which we opine the latter failed to overcome.

Respondent company’s negligence consists in allowing incompetent crew to man its vessel.

The petition is GRANTED.

29. Abrogar v. Cosmos Bottling Company


G.R. No. 164749 – March 15, 2017
Bersamin, J.
(PANLAQUI)

I. Facts:
To promote the sales of Pop-Cola, Cosmos jointly with Intergames, herein respondents organized the “1 st
Pop-Cola Junior Marathon” [a 10-km course from Interim Batasang Pambansa through public roads and
streets to end at the Q.C. Memorial Circle]. Rommel Abrogar joined the said event. In the course of the
marathon, he was bumped by a passenger jeepney from which he incurred severe head injuries that
consequently caused his death that same day. Because of this, Rommel’s parents, herein petitioners, sued
respondents for damages before the CFI.

For its part, Cosmos denied liability, reasoning that it only provided financial assistance with Intergames.
Intergames, on the other hand, maintained that Rommel’s death had been an accident exclusively caused
by the negligence of the jeepney driver.

CFI: ruled in favor of petitioners and held Cosmos and Intergame solidarily liable for damages.
CA: reversed the ruling of the lower court; absolved both Intergame and Cosmos from liability; and applied
the doctrine of assumption of risk.

II. Issue:
1. W/N respondents are guilty of negligence
2. If negligent, W/N respondents’ negligence is the proximate cause of Rommel’s death
3. W/N the doctrine of assumption of risk is applicable to Rommel

III. Ruling:
1. Intergame is liable.
It is relevant to note that the participants of the marathon were mostly minors aged 14 to 18 years joining a
race of that kind for the first time. The combined factors of their youth, eagerness and inexperience ought
to have put a reasonably prudent organizer on higher guard as to their safety and security needs during the
race.

The circumstances of the persons, time and place required far more than what Intergames undertook in
staging the race. Due diligence would have made a reasonably prudent organizer of the race participated
by young, inexperienced or beginner runners to conduct the race in a route suitable blocked off from
vehicular traffic for the safety and security not only of the participants, but of the motoring public as well.
Since the marathon would be run alongside moving vehicular traffic, at the very least, Intergames ought to
have seen the constant and closer coordination among the personnel manning the route to prevent the
foreseen risks from befalling the participants. But it sadly failed to do.

The CA is correct in absolving Cosmos.


The sponsorship of the marathon by Cosmos was limited to financing the race. Cosmos did nothing beyond
that, and it did not involve itself at all in the preparations for the actual conduct of the race. The role of
Cosmos was to pursue its corporate commitment to sports development of the youth as well as to serve
the need for advertising its business. In the absence of evidence showing that Cosmos had a hand in the
organization of the race, and took part in the determination of the route for the race and the adoption of the
action plan, including the safety and security measures for the benefit of the runners, the requirement for
the direct or immediate causal connection between the financial sponsorship of Cosmos and the death of
Rommel simply do not exist. Cosmos’ sponsorship is too remote to be the efficient and proximate cause of
the injurious consequences.

2. Intergame’s negligence is the proximate cause of Rommel’s death.


First of all, Intergames’ negligence in not conducting the race in a road blocked off from vehicular traffic,
and in not properly coordinating the volunteer personnel manning the marathon route effectively set the
stage for the injury complained of.

Secondly, injury to the participants arising from an unfortunate vehicular accident on the route was an event
known to and foreseeable by Intergames, which could then have been avoided if only Intergames had acted
with due diligence by undertaking the race on a blocked-off road, and if only Intergames had enforced and
adopted more efficient supervision of the race through its volunteers.

Thirdly, the negligence of the jeepney driver, albeit an intervening cause, was not efficient enough to break
the chain of connection between the negligence of Intergames and the injurious consequence suffered by
Rommel. An intervening cause, to be considered efficient, must be "one not produced by a wrongful act or
omission, but independent of it, and adequate to bring the injurious results. Any cause intervening between
the first wrongful cause and the final injury which might reasonably have been foreseen or anticipated by
the original wrongdoer is not such an efficient intervening cause as will relieve the original wrong of its
character as the proximate cause of the final injury."74

In fine, it was the duty of Intergames to guard Rommel against the foreseen risk, but it failed to do so.

3. The doctrine of assumption of risk is not applicable to Rommel.

As a defense, the doctrine requires the concurrence of three elements: (1) the plaintiff must know that the
risk is present; (2) he must further understand its nature; and (3) his choice to incur it must be free and
voluntary.

The concurrence of the three elements was not shown to exist. Rommel could not have assumed the risk
of death when he participated in the race because death was neither a known or normal risk incident to
running a race. Although he had surveyed the route prior to the race and should be presumed to know that
he would be running the race alongside moving vehicular traffic, such knowledge of the general danger
was not enough, for some authorities have required that the knowledge must be of the specific risk that
caused the harm to him. In theory, the standard to be applied is a subjective one, and should be geared to
the particular plaintiff and his situation, rather than that of the reasonable person of ordinary prudence who
appears in contributory negligence. He could not have appreciated the risk of being fatally struck by any
moving vehicle while running the race. Instead, he had every reason to believe that the organizer had taken
adequate measures to guard all participants against any danger from the fact that he was participating in
an organized marathon. Stated differently, nobody in his right mind, including minors like him, would have
joined the marathon if he had known of or appreciated the risk of harm or even death from vehicular accident
while running in the organized running event. Without question, a marathon route safe and free from
foreseeable risks was the reasonable expectation of every runner participating in an organized running
event.

Neither was the waiver by Rommel, then a minor, an effective form of express or implied consent in the
context of the doctrine of assumption of risk. There is ample authority to the effect that a person does not
comprehend the risk involved in a known situation because of his youth, or lack of information or
experience, and thus will not be taken to consent to assume the risk.

Clearly, the doctrine of assumption of risk does not apply to bar recovery by the petitioners.
Petition partly granted.

30. AFIALDA VS HISOLE

FACTS

Deceased Afialda was employed by defendants as caretaker of their carabaos. While tending the
animals, he was gored by one of them and later died as a consequence of his injuries. Petitioner
filed a complaint for damages against them and alleged that the mishap was neither due to his own
fault nor to force majeure.

ISSUE

W/N defendants are liable for his death

RULING

NO. The animal was in custody and under the control of the caretaker, who was paid for his work
as such. It was the caretaker's business to try to prevent the animal from causing injury or damage
to anyone, including himself. And being injured by the animal under those circumstances, was one
of the risks of the occupation which he had voluntarily assumed and for which he must take the
consequences.

31. PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC. vs. IAC


G.R. Nos. 66102-04 August 30, 1990

Facts:

About 11:00 o'clock in the morning on December 24, 1966, Catalina Pascua, Caridad Pascua,
Adelaida Estomo, Erlinda Meriales, Mercedes Lorenzo, Alejandro Morales and Zenaida Parejas
boarded the jeepney owned by spouses Isidro Mangune and Guillerma Carreon and driven by
Tranquilino Manalo at Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga bound for Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan to
spend Christmas at their respective homes.

Upon reaching barrio Sinayoan, San Manuel, Tarlac, the right rear wheel of the jeepney was
detached, so it was running in an unbalanced position. Manalo stepped on the brake, as a result of
which, the jeepney which was then running on the eastern lane (its right of way) made a U-turn,
invading and eventually stopping on the western lane of the road in such a manner that the
jeepney's front faced the south (from where it came) and its rear faced the north (towards where it
was going). The jeepney practically occupied and blocked the greater portion of the western lane,
which is the right of way of vehicles coming from the north, among which was Bus No. 753 of
petitioner Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (Rabbit) driven by Tomas delos Reyes. As a result of
the collision, three passengers of the jeepney (Catalina Pascua, Erlinda Meriales and Adelaida
Estomo) died while the other jeepney passengers sustained physical injuries.

A criminal complaint against the two drivers for Multiple Homicide. At the preliminary
investigation, a probable cause was found with respect to the case of Manalo, thus, his case was
elevated to the Court of First Instance. However, finding no sufficiency of evidence as regards the
case of delos Reyes, the Court dismissed it. Manalo was convicted and sentenced to suffer
imprisonment. Not having appealed, he served his sentence.
Complaints for recovery of damages were then filed before the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan. In Civil Case No. 1136, spouses Casiano Pascua and Juana Valdez sued as heirs of
Catalina Pascua while Caridad Pascua sued in her behalf. In Civil Case No. 1139, spouses Manuel
Millares and Fidencia Arcica sued as heirs of Erlinda Meriales. In Civil Case No. 1140, spouses
Mariano Estomo and Dionisia Sarmiento also sued as heirs of Adelaida Estomo.

In all three cases, spouses Mangune and Carreon, Manalo, Rabbit and delos Reyes were all
impleaded as defendants. Plaintiffs anchored their suits against spouses Mangune and Carreon and
Manalo on their contractual liability. As against Rabbit and delos Reyes, plaintiffs based their suits
on their culpability for a quasi-delict.

The trial court rendered its decision finding Manalo (jeepney driver) negligent. On appeal, the
Intermediate Appellate Court reversed the above-quoted decision by finding delos Reyes (bus
driver) negligent.

Issue:

Who is liable for the death and physical injuries suffered by the passengers of the jeepney?

Ruling:

Manalo (jeepney driver) is liable.

With regard to the substantial factor test, it was the opinion of the respondent court that (p. 52,
Rollo):

. . . It is the rule under the substantial factor test that if the actor's conduct is a substantial factor in
bringing about harm to another, the fact that the actor neither foresaw nor should have foreseen
the extent of the harm or the manner in which it occurred does not prevent him from being liable
(Restatement, Torts, 2d). Here, We find defendant bus running at a fast speed when the accident
occurred and did not even make the slightest effort to avoid the accident, . . . . The bus driver's
conduct is thus a substantial factor in bringing about harm to the passengers of the jeepney, not
only because he was driving fast and did not even attempt to avoid the mishap but also because it
was the bus which was the physical force which brought about the injury and death to the
passengers of the jeepney.

The speed of the bus was calculated by respondent court as follows (pp. 54-55, Rollo):

According to the record of the case, the bus departed from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, at 4:00 o'clock
A.M. and the accident took place at approximately around 12:30 P.M., after travelling roughly for
8 hours and 30 minutes. Deduct from this the actual stopover time of two Hours (computed from
the testimony of the driver that he made three 40-minute stop-overs), We will have an actual
travelling time of 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Under the circumstances, We calculate that the Laoag-Tarlac route (365 kms.) driving at an
average of 56 km. per hour would take 6 hours and 30 minutes. Therefore, the average speed of
the bus, give and take 10 minutes, from the point of impact on the highway with excellent visibility
factor would be 80 to 90 kms. per hour, as this is the place where buses would make up for lost
time in traversing busy city streets.

Still, We are not convinced. It cannot be said that the bus was travelling at a fast speed when the
accident occurred because the speed of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour, assuming such calculation to
be correct, is yet within the speed limit allowed in highways. We cannot even fault delos Reyes
for not having avoided the collision. As aforestated, the jeepney left a skid mark of about 45 meters,
measured from the time its right rear wheel was detached up to the point of collision. Delos Reyes
must have noticed the perilous condition of the jeepney from the time its right rear wheel was
detached or some 90 meters away, considering that the road was straight and points 200 meters
north and south of the point of collision, visible and unobstructed. Delos Reyes admitted that he
was running more or less 50 kilometers per hour at the time of the accident. Using this speed, delos
Reyes covered the distance of 45 meters in 3.24 seconds. If We adopt the speed of 80 kilometers
per hour, delos Reyes would have covered that distance in only 2.025 seconds. Verily, he had little
time to react to the situation. To require delos Reyes to avoid the collision is to ask too much from
him. Aside from the time element involved, there were no options available to him.

After a minute scrutiny of the factual matters and duly proven evidence, We find that the proximate
cause of the accident was the negligence of Manalo and spouses Mangune and Carreon. They all
failed to exercise the precautions that are needed precisely pro hac vice.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Intermediate Appellate
Court dated July 29, 1983 and its resolution dated November 28, 1983 are SET ASIDE. The
decision of the Court of First Instance dated December 27, 1978 is REINSTATED
MODIFICATION that only Isidro Mangune, Guillerma Carreon and Filriters Guaranty Assurance
Corporation, Inc. are liable to the victims or their heirs and that the amount of indemnity for loss
of life is increased to thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00).

32. REYNALDO BERMUDEZ, SR., and, ADONITA YABUT BERMUDEZ vs. HON.
JUDGE A. MELENCIO-HERRERA, DOMINGO PONTINO y TACORDA and
CORDOVA NG SUN KWAN

G.R. No. L-32055 February 26, 1988

Facts:

A cargo truck, driven by Domingo Pontino and owned by Cordova Ng Sun Kwan, bumped
a jeep on which Rogelio, a six-year old son of plaintiffs-appellants, was riding. The boy
sustained injuries which caused his death. As a result, Criminal Case No. 92944 for
Homicide through Reckless Imprudence was filed against Domingo Pontino. Plaintiffs-
appellants filed on July 27, 1969 in the said criminal case “A Reservation to File Separate
Civil Action.”

On July 28, 1969, the plaintiffs-appellants filed a civil case for damages against Domingo
Pontino y Tacorda and Cordova Ng Sun Kwan. Finding that the plaintiffs instituted the
action “on the assumption that defendant Pontino’s negligence in the accident of May 10,
1969 constituted aquasi-delict,” the trial court stated that plaintiffs had already elected to
treat the accident as a “crime” by reserving in the criminal case their right to file a separate
civil action. That being so, the trial court decided to order the dismissal of the complaint
against defendant Cordova Ng Sun Kwan and to suspend the hearing of the case against
Domingo Pontino until after the criminal case for Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence
is finally terminated.

Issue:

Whether or not the present action is based on quasi-delict under the Civil Code and
therefore could proceed independently of the criminal case for homicide thru reckless
imprudence.

Ruling:

YES. The present action is based on quasi-delict under the Civil Code and therefore could
proceed independently of the criminal case for homicide thru reckless imprudence.

In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the choice between an action to
enforce the civil liability arising from crime under Article100 of the Revised Penal Code
and an action for quasi-delict under Article 2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a party chooses
the latter, he may hold the employer solidarily liable for the negligent act of his employee,
subject to the employer’s defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father of the
family.

In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for damages based on quasi-
delict. The fact that appellants reserved their right in the criminal case to file an
independent civil action did not preclude them from choosing to file a civil action for quasi-
delict. The appellant precisely made a reservation to file an independent civil action. In
fact, even without such a reservation, the Court allowed the injured party in the criminal
case which resulted in the acquittal of the accused to recover damages based on quasi-
delict. It does not follow that a person who is not criminally liable is also free from
civil liability. While the guilt of the accused in a criminal prosecution must be
established beyond reasonable doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is
required in a civil action for damages (Article 29, Civil Code). The judgment of
acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a
declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist.

33. BF METAL CORP vs. SPS. LOMOTAN & UMUYON


GR No. 170813 | 16 April 2008
(AJA – Award of Damages)

FACTS:
Rico Umuyon was driving the owner-type jeep owned by spouses Rolando and Linaflor Lomotan at a
moderate speed of 20 to 30 kmph when at the opposite lane, the speeding ten-wheeler truck driven by
Onofre Rivera overtook a car by invading the lane being traversed by the jeep and rammed into it. The
jeep was a total wreck while Umuyon suffered ‘blunt thoracic injury with multiple rib fracture, fractured
scapula, with pneumohemothorax", (severe injuries na lang :D) which entailed his hospitalization for 19
days.

In view of the injuries he sustained, Umuyon could no longer drive, reducing his daily income from P150 to
P100. The spouses Lomotan and Umuyon instituted a separate and independent civil action for damages
against petitioner, BF Metal Corporation (BF Metal) and Rivera alleging that Rivera’s gross negligence and
recklessness were the immediate and proximate cause of the vehicular accident and that BF Metal failed
to exercise the required diligence in the selection and supervision of Rivera.

RTC: found Rivera negligent when he failed to determine with certainty that the opposite lane was clear
before overtaking the vehicle in front of him. It also found BF Metal negligent in the selection and supervision
of its employees when it failed to prove the proper dissemination of safety driving instructions to its drivers.
Ordered BF Metal to pay jointly and severally P96,700 for cost of owner-type jeep, P15,000 medical
expenses, P50,000 for loss of earnings, moral and exemplary damages P100,000 each, and P25,000
attorney’s fees to Lomotan. CA: Affirmed.

Petitioner questions the award of moral and exemplary damages in favor of Spouses Lomotan.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Spouses Lomotan are entitled to moral and exemplary damages, and may actual damages
be lowered.

RULING:
NO as to moral damages, YES as to exemplary damages and lowering of actual damages.

There is no legal basis in awarding moral damages to Spouses Lomotan whether arising from the criminal
negligence committed by Rivera or based on the negligence of petitioner under Article 2180. Article 2219
speaks of recovery of moral damages in case of a criminal offense resulting in physical injuries or quasi-
delicts causing physical injuries, the two instances where Rivera and BF Metal are liable for moral damages
to respondent Umuyon. Article 2220 does speak of awarding moral damages where there is injury to
property (property lang kasi nadamage kila spouses Lomotan), but the injury must be willful and the
circumstances show that such damages are justly due. There being no proof that the accident was willful,
Article 2220 does not apply (hence, no moral damages for the spouses).

In culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict, (a) when an act or omission causes physical injuries, or (b) where the
defendant is guilty of intentional tort, moral damages may aptly be recovered. This rule also applies, as
aforestated, to breaches of contract or culpa contractual where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad
faith. In culpa criminal, moral damages could be lawfully due when the accused is found guilty of physical
injuries, lascivious acts, adultery or concubinage, illegal or arbitrary detention, illegal arrest, illegal search,
or defamation. (ID-PAL)

As to exemplary damages, Spouses Lomotan have shown that they are entitled to compensatory damages
while respondent Umuyon can recover both compensatory and moral damages. Exemplary or corrective
damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good. It cannot be recovered as a
matter of right. The court will decide whether or not it should be adjudicated. In quasi-delicts, exemplary
damages may be granted if defendant acted with gross negligence.

To justify an award of actual damages, there must be competent proof of the actual amount of loss.
Credence can be given only to claims which are duly supported by receipts. In the instant case, no evidence
was submitted to show the amount actually spent for the repair or replacement of the wrecked jeep. Courts
cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of damages.

SC: Petition partially granted. Actual damages reduced to P72,000 while moral damages reduced to
P30,000. All other awards - affirmed.

34. MINDANAO TERMINAL AND BROKERAGE SERVICE, INC. vs. PHOENIX


ASSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK/MCGEE & CO., INC.,

G.R. No. 162467


FACTS:

Del Monte Philippines, Inc. Contracted petitioner Mindanao Terminal and Brokerage Service, Inc., a
stevedoring company, to loand and stow a shipment of 146, 288 cartons of fresh green Philippine bananas
and 15, 202 cartons of fresh pineapples belonging to Del Monde Fresh Produce International Inc. into the
cargo hold of the vessel M/V Mistrau. The goods were to be transported to Inchon, Korea. Del Monte
Produce insured the shipment with private respondent Phoenix Assurance Company of New York
(Phoenix), a non-life insurance company, and private respondent McGee &Co. Inc.

When the vessel arrived at the port of Inchon, it was discovered that some of the cargo was in bad
condition. The Marine CArgo Damage Surveyor representative Byeong Yong Ahn, surveyed the extent of
damage and reported tat 16,069 cartons of the banana shipment and 2, 185 cartons of the pinapple
shipment were so damaged that they no longer had commercial value.

Del Monte Produce filed a claim under the insurance policy in the amount of $210, 266.43. Thereater,
Phoenix and McGee instituted an action for damages against Mindanao Terminal. The RTC ruled that
Mindanao Terminal cannot be held liable because the only participation of Mindanao was to load the
caroes on board the M/V Mistrau under the direction and supervision of the ship officers. It was also found
by the RTC that the cargoes were damaged on account of a typhoon which M/V Mistrau had encountered
during the voyage. It was further held that Phoenix and McGee had no cause of action against
Mindanao Terminal because the latter, whose services were contracted by Del Monte, a distinct
corporation from Del Monte Produce, had no contract with the assured Del Monte Produce.

CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. It sustained Phoenix’s and McGee’s argument that the damage in the
cargoes was the result of improper stowage by Mindanao Terminal. It imposed on Mindanao Terminal, as
the stevedore of the cargo, the duty to exercise extraordinary diligence in loading and stowing the cargoes.
It further held that even with the absence of a contractual relationship between Mindanao Terminal
and Del Monte Produce, the cause of action of Phoenix and McGee could be based on quasi-delict
under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Mindanao’s MR was denied. Hence, this petition for review.

ISSUES:

1. whether Phoenix and McGee has a cause of action against Mindanao Terminal under Article 2176 of
the Civil Code on quasi-delict

2. whether it was careless and negligent in the loading and stowage of the cargoes onboard M/V Mistrau
making it liable for damages

RULING: Yes, Phoenix and McGee has a cause of action against Mindanao under Art. 2176 of the Civil
Code on quasi delict.

The Court ruled that the complaint filed by Phoenix and McGee against Mindanao Terminal, from which
the present case has arisen, states a cause of action. The present action is based on quasi-delict, arising
from the negligent and careless loading and stowing of the cargoes belonging to Del Monte Produce.
Even assuming that both Phoenix and McGee have only been subrogated in the rights of Del Monte
Produce, who is not a party to the contract of service between Mindanao Terminal and Del Monte, still
the insurance carriers may have a cause of action in light of the Court’s consistent ruling that the act that
breaks the contract may be also a tort. In fine, a liability for tort may arise even under a contract, where
tort is that which breaches the contract. In the present case, Phoenix and McGee are not suing for
damages for injuries arising from the breach of the contract of service but from the alleged negligent
manner by which Mindanao Terminal handled the cargoes belonging to Del Monte Produce. Despite the
absence of contractual relationship between Del Monte Produce and Mindanao Terminal, the allegation
of negligence on the part of the defendant should be sufficient to establish a cause of action arising from
quasi-delict.

2. No, the court ruled that Mindanao Termonal had duly exercised the required degree of diligence in
loading and stowinf the cargoes, which is the ordinary diligence of a good father of a family. Phoenix and
McGee failed to prove by preponderance of evidence that Mindanao Terminal had acted negligently.

Article 1173 of the Civil Code is very clear that if the law or contract does not state the degree of
diligence which is to be observed in the performance of an obligation then that which is expected
of a good father of a family or ordinary diligence shall be required. Mindanao Terminal, a stevedoring
company which was charged with the loading and stowing the cargoes of Del Monte Produce aboard M/V
Mistrau, had acted merely as a labor provider in this case. There is no specific provision of law that imposes
a higher degree of diligence than ordinary diligence for a stevedoring company or one who is charged only
with the loading and stowing of cargoes. It was neither alleged nor proven by Phoenix and McGee that
Mindanao Terminal was bound by contractual stipulation to observe a higher degree of diligence than that
required of a good father of a family. We therefore conclude that following Article 1173, Mindanao Terminal
was required to observe ordinary diligence only in loading and stowing the cargoes of Del Monte Produce
aboard M/V Mistrau.

Mindanao Terminal, as a stevedore, was only charged with the loading and stowing of the cargoes from
the pier to the ship’s cargo hold; it was never the custodian of the shipment of Del Monte Produce. A
stevedore is not a common carrier for it does not transport goods or passengers; it is not akin to a
warehouseman for it does not store goods for profit. The public policy considerations in legally imposing
upon a common carrier or a warehouseman a higher degree of diligence is not present in a stevedoring
outfit which mainly provides labor in loading and stowing of cargoes for its clients.

It was further established that Mindanao Terminal loaded and stowed the cargoes of Del Monte
Produce aboard the M/V Mistrau in accordance with the stowage plan, a guide for the area
assignments of the goods in the vessel’s hold, prepared by Del Monte Produce and the officers of
M/V Mistrau. The loading and stowing was done under the direction and supervision of the ship officers.
The vessel’s officer would order the closing of the hatches only if the loading was done correctly after a
final inspection. The said ship officers would not have accepted the cargoes on board the vessel if they
were not properly arranged and tightly secured to withstand the voyage in open seas. They would order the
stevedore to rectify any error in its loading and stowing. A foreman’s report, as proof of work done on board
the vessel, was prepared by the checkers of Mindanao Terminal and concurred in by the Chief Officer of
M/V Mistrau after they were satisfied that the cargoes were properly loaded.