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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 118664. August 7, 1998]

JAPAN AIRLINES, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS ENRIQUE AGANA, MARIA ANGELA NINA AGANA, ADALIA B. FRANCISCO and JOSE MIRANDA,respondents. DECISION ROMERO, J.: Before us is an appeal by certiorari filed by petitioner Japan Airlines, Inc. (JAL) seeking the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals,[1] which affirmed with modification the award of damages made by the trial court in favor of herein private respondents Enrique Agana, Maria Angela Nina Agana, Adelia Francisco and Jose Miranda. On June 13, 1991, private respondent Jose Miranda boarded JAL flight No. JL 001 in San Francisco, California bound for Manila. Likewise, on the same day private respondents Enrique Agana, Maria Angela Nina Agana and Adelia Francisco left Los Angeles, California for Manila via JAL flight No. JL 061. As an incentive for travelling on the said airline, both flights were to make an overnight stopover at Narita, Japan, at the airlines expense, thereafter proceeding to Manila the following day. Upon arrival at Narita, Japan on June 14, 1991, private respondents were billeted at Hotel Nikko Narita for the night. The next day, private respondents, on the final leg of their journey, went to the airport to take their flight to Manila. However, due to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, unrelenting ashfall blanketed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), rendering it inaccessible to airline traffic. Hence, private respondents trip to Manila was cancelled indefinitely. To accommodate the needs of its stranded passengers, JAL rebooked all the Manila-bound passengers on flight No. 741 due to depart on June 16, 1991 and also paid for the hotel expenses for their unexpected overnight stay. On June 16, 1991, much to the dismay of the private respondents, their long anticipated flight to Manila was again cancelled due to NAIAs indefinite closure. At this point, JAL informed the private respondents that it would no longer defray their hotel and accommodation expense during their stay in Narita. Since NAIA was only reopened to airline traffic on June 22, 1991, private respondents were forced to pay for their accommodations and meal expenses from their personal funds from June 16 to June 21, 1991. Their unexpected stay in Narita ended on June 22, 1991 when they arrived in Manila on board JL flight No. 741. Obviously, still reeling from the experience, private respondents, on July 25, 1991, commenced an action for damages against JAL before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104.[2] To support their claim, private respondents asserted that JAL failed to live up to its duty to provide care and comfort to its stranded passengers when it refused to pay for their hotel and accommodation expenses from June 16 to 21, 1991 at Narita, Japan. In other words, they insisted that JAL was obligated to shoulder their expenses as long as they were still stranded in Narita. On the other hand, JAL denied this

allegation and averred that airline passengers have no vested right to these amenities in case a flight is cancelled due to force majeure. On June 18, 1992, the trial court rendered its judgment in favor of private respondents holding JAL liable for damages, viz.: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiffs ordering the defendant Japan Airlines to pay the plaintiffs Enrique Agana, Adalia B. Francisco and Maria Angela Nina Agana the sum of One million Two Hundred forty-six Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-Six Pesos (P1,246,936.00) and Jose Miranda the sum of Three Hundred Twenty Thousand Six Hundred sixteen and 31/100 (P320,616.31) as actual, moral and exemplary damages and pay attorneys fees in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00), and to pay the costs of suit. Undaunted, JAL appealed the decision before the Court of Appeals, which, however, with the exception of lowering the damages awarded affirmed the trial courts finding,[3] thus: Thus, the award of moral damages should be as it is hereby reduced to P200,000.00 for each of the plaintiffs, the exemplary damages to P300,000.00 and the attorneys fees to P100,000.00 plus the costs. WHEREFORE, with the foregoing Modification, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects. JAL filed a motion for reconsideration which proved futile and unavailing.[4] Failing in its bid to reconsider the decision, JAL has now filed this instant petition. The issue to be resolved is whether JAL, as a common carrier has the obligation to shoulder the hotel and meal expenses of its stranded passengers until they have reached their final destination, even if the delay were caused by force majeure. To begin with, there is no dispute that the Mt. Pinatubo eruption prevented JAL from proceeding to Manila on schedule. Likewise, private respondents concede that such event can be considered as force majeure since their delayed arrival in Manila was not imputable to JAL.[5] However, private respondents contend that while JAL cannot be held responsible for the delayed arrival in Manila, it was nevertheless liable for their living expenses during their unexpected stay in Narita since airlines have the obligation to ensure the comfort and convenience of its passengers. While we sympathize with the private respondents plight, we are unable to accept this contention. We are not unmindful of the fact that in a plethora of cases we have consistently ruled that a contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from any other contractual relation. It is safe to conclude that it is a relationship imbued with public interest. Failure on the part of the common carrier to live up to the exacting standards of care and diligence renders it liable for any damages that may be sustained by its passengers. However, this is not to say that common carriers are absolutely responsible for all injuries or damages even if the same were caused by a fortuitous event. To rule otherwise would render the defense of force majeure, as an exception from any liability, illusory and ineffective. Accordingly, there is no question that when a party is unable to fulfill his obligation because of force majeure, the general rule is that he cannot be held liable for damages for nonperformance.[6] Corollarily, when JAL was prevented from resuming its flight to Manila due to the effects

of Mt. Pinatubo eruption, whatever losses or damages in the form of hotel and meal expenses the stranded passengers incurred, cannot be charged to JAL. Yet it is undeniable that JAL assumed the hotel expenses of respondents for their unexpected overnight stay on June 15, 1991. Admittedly, to be stranded for almost a week in a foreign land was an exasperating experience for the private respondents. To be sure, they underwent distress and anxiety during their unanticipated stay in Narita, but their predicament was not due to the fault or negligence of JAL but the closure of NAIA to international flights. Indeed, to hold JAL, in the absence of bad faith or negligence, liable for the amenities of its stranded passengers by reason of a fortuitous event is too much of a burden to assume. Furthermore, it has been held that airline passengers must take such risks incident to the mode of travel.[7] In this regard, adverse weather conditions or extreme climatic changes are some of the perils involved in air travel, the consequences of which the passenger must assume or expect. After all, common carriers are not the insurer of all risks.[8] Paradoxically, the Court of Appeals, despite the presence of force majeure, still ruled against JAL relying in our decision in PAL v. Court of Appeals,[9] thus: The position taken by PAL in this case clearly illustrates its failure to grasp the exacting standard required by law. Undisputably, PALs diversion of its flight due to inclement weather was a fortuitous event. Nonetheless, such occurrence did not terminate PALs contract with its passengers. Being in the business of air carriage and the sole one to operate in the country, PAL is deemed equipped to deal with situations as in the case at bar. What we said in one case once again must be stressed, i.e., the relation of carrier and passenger continues until the latter has been landed at the port of destination and has left the carriers premises. Hence, PAL necessarily would still have to exercise extraordinary diligence in safeguarding the comfort, convenience and safety of its stranded passengers until they have reached their final destination. On this score, PAL grossly failed considering the then ongoing battle between government forces and Muslim rebels in Cotabato City and the fact that the private respondent was a stranger to the place. The reliance is misplaced. The factual background of the PAL case is different from the instant petition. In that case there was indeed a fortuitous event resulting in the diversion of the PAL flight. However, the unforeseen diversion was worsened when private respondents (passenger) was left at the airport and could not even hitch a ride in a Ford Fiera loaded with PAL personnel, [10] not to mention the apparent apathy of the PAL station manager as to the predicament of the stranded passengers.[11] In light of these circumstances, we held that if the fortuitous event was accompanied by neglect and malfeasance by the carriers employees, an action for damages against the carrier is permissible. Unfortunately, for private respondents, none of these conditions are present in the instant petition. We are not prepared, however, to completely absolve petitioner JAL from any liability. It must be noted that private respondents bought tickets from the United States with Manila as their final destination. While JAL was no longer required to defray private respondents living expenses during their stay in Narita on account of the fortuitous event, JAL had the duty to make the necessary arrangements to transport private respondents on the first available connecting flight to Manila. Petitioner JAL reneged on its obligation to look after the comfort and convenience of its passengers when it declassified private respondents from transit passengers to new passengers as a result of which private respondents were obliged to make the necessary arrangements themselves for the next flight to Manila. Private respondents were placed on the waiting list from June 20 to June

24. To assure themselves of a seat on an available flight, they were compelled to stay in the airport the whole day of June 22, 1991 and it was only at 8:00 p.m. of the aforesaid date that they were advised that they could be accommodated in said flight which flew at about 9:00 a.m. the next day. We are not oblivious to the fact that the cancellation of JAL flights to Manila from June 15 to June 21, 1991 caused considerable disruption in passenger booking and reservation. In fact, it would be unreasonable to expect, considering NAIAs closure, that JAL flight operations would be normal on the days affected. Nevertheless, this does not excuse JAL from its obligation to make the necessary arrangements to transport private respondents on its first available flight to Manila. After all, it had a contract to transport private respondents from the United States to Manila as their final destination. Consequently, the award of nominal damages is in order. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of a plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized and not for the purpose of indemnifying any loss suffered by him.[12] The court may award nominal damages in every obligation arising from any source enumerated in Article 1157, or in every case where any property right has been invaded.[13] WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 22, 1993 is hereby MODIFIED. The award of actual, moral and exemplary damages is hereby DELETED. Petitioner JAL is ordered to pay each of the private respondents nominal damages in the sum of P100,000.00 each including attorneys fees of P50,000.00 plus costs. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila SECOND DIVISION FILCAR TRANSPORT SERVICES, Petitioner, G.R. No. 174156 Present: CARPIO, J., Chairperson, BRION, PEREZ, SERENO, and REYES, JJ. Promulgated: JOSE A. ESPINAS, Respondent. June 20, 2012

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DECISION BRION, J.:

We resolve the present petition for review on certiorari[1] filed by petitioner Filcar Transport Services (Filcar), challenging the decision[2] and the resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 86603. The facts of the case, gathered from the records, are briefly summarized below. On November 22, 1998, at around 6:30 p.m., respondent Jose A. Espinas was driving his car along Leon Guinto Street in Manila. Upon reaching the intersection of Leon Guinto and President Quirino Streets, Espinas stopped his car. When the signal light turned green, he proceeded to cross the intersection. He was already in the middle of the intersection when another car, traversing President Quirino Street and going to Roxas Boulevard, suddenly hit and bumped his car. As a result of the impact, Espinas car turned clockwise. The other car escaped from the scene of the incident, but Espinas was able to get its plate number. After verifying with the Land Transportation Office, Espinas learned that the owner of the other car, with plate number UCF-545, is Filcar. Espinas sent several letters to Filcar and to its President and General Manager Carmen Flor, demanding payment for the damages sustained by his car. On May 31, 2001, Espinas filed a complaint for damages against Filcar and Carmen Flor before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, and the case was raffled to Branch 13. In the complaint, Espinas demanded that Filcar and Carmen Flor pay the amount of P97,910.00, representing actual damages sustained by his car. Filcar argued that while it is the registered owner of the car that hit and bumped Espinas car, the car was assigned to its Corporate Secretary Atty. Candido Flor, the husband of Carmen Flor. Filcar further stated that when the incident happened, the car was being driven by Atty. Flors personal driver, Timoteo Floresca. Atty. Flor, for his part, alleged that when the incident occurred, he was attending a birthday celebration at a nearby hotel, and it was only later that night when he noticed a small dent on and the cracked signal light of the car. On seeing the dent and the crack, Atty. Flor allegedly asked Floresca what happened, and the driver replied that it was a result of a hit and run while the car was parked in front of Bogota on Pedro Gil Avenue, Manila.

Filcar denied any liability to Espinas and claimed that the incident was not due to its fault or negligence since Floresca was not its employee but that of Atty. Flor. Filcar and Carmen Flor both said that they always exercised the due diligence required of a good father of a family in leasing or assigning their vehicles to third parties. The MeTC Decision The MeTC, in its decision dated January 20, 2004,[4] ruled in favor of Espinas, and ordered Filcar and Carmen Flor, jointly and severally, to pay Espinas P97,910.00 as actual damages, representing the cost of repair, with interest at 6% per annum from the date the complaint was filed; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P20,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P20,000.00 as attorneys fees. The MeTC ruled that Filcar, as the registered owner of the vehicle, is primarily responsible for damages resulting from the vehicles operation. The RTC Decision The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 20, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, affirmed the MeTC decision.[5] The RTC ruled that Filcar failed to prove that Floresca was not its employee as no proof was adduced that Floresca was personally hired by Atty. Flor. The RTC agreed with the MeTC that the registered owner of a vehicle is directly and primarily liable for the damages sustained by third persons as a consequence of the negligent or careless operation of a vehicle registered in its name. The RTC added that the victim of recklessness on the public highways is without means to discover or identify the person actually causing the injury or damage. Thus, the only recourse is to determine the owner, through the vehicles registration, and to hold him responsible for the damages. The CA Decision On appeal, the CA partly granted the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 86603; it modified the RTC decision by ruling that Carmen Flor, President and General Manager of Filcar, is not personally liable to Espinas. The appellate court pointed out that, subject to recognized exceptions, the liability of a corporation is not the liability of its corporate officers because a corporate entity subject to well-recognized exceptions has a separate and distinct personality from its officers and shareholders. Since the circumstances in the case at bar do not fall under the exceptions recognized by law, the CA concluded that the liability for damages cannot attach to Carmen Flor.

The CA, however, affirmed the liability of Filcar to pay Espinas damages. According to the CA, even assuming that there had been no employer-employee relationship between Filcar and the driver of the vehicle, Floresca, the former can be held liable under the registered owner rule. The CA relied on the rule that the registered owner of a vehicle is directly and primarily responsible to the public and to third persons while the vehicle is being operated. Citing Erezo, et al. v. Jepte,[6] the CA said that the rationale behind the rule is to avoid circumstances where vehicles running on public highways cause accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles without positive identification of the owner or drivers, or with very scant means of identification. In Erezo, the Court said that the main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner, so that if a vehicle causes damage or injury to pedestrians or other vehicles, responsibility can be traced to a definite individual and that individual is the registered owner of the vehicle.[7] The CA did not accept Filcars argument that it cannot be held liable for damages because the driver of the vehicle was not its employee. In so ruling, the CA cited the case of Villanueva v. Domingo[8] where the Court said that the question of whether the driver was authorized by the actual owner is irrelevant in determining the primary and direct responsibility of the registered owner of a vehicle for accidents, injuries and deaths caused by the operation of his vehicle. Filcar filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA denied in its Resolution dated July 6, 2006. Hence, the present petition.

The Issue Simply stated, the issue for the consideration of this Court is: whether Filcar, as registered owner of the motor vehicle which figured in an accident, may be held liable for the damages caused to Espinas. Our Ruling The petition is without merit. Filcar, as registered owner, is deemed the employer of the driver, Floresca, and is thus vicariously liable under Article 2176 in relation with Article 2180 of the Civil Code

It is undisputed that Filcar is the registered owner of the motor vehicle which hit and caused damage to Espinas car; and it is on the basis of this fact that we hold Filcar primarily and directly liable to Espinas for damages. As a general rule, one is only responsible for his own act or omission.[9] Thus, a person will generally be held liable only for the torts committed by himself and not by another. This general rule is laid down in Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which provides to wit:

Article 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.

Based on the above-cited article, the obligation to indemnify another for damage caused by ones act or omission is imposed upon the tortfeasor himself, i.e., the person who committed the negligent act or omission. The law, however, provides for exceptions when it makes certain persons liable for the act or omission of another. One exception is an employer who is made vicariously liable for the tort committed by his employee. Article 2180 of the Civil Code states:

Article 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. xxxx Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. xxxx The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

Under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code, an action predicated on an employees act or omission may be instituted against the employer who is held liable for the negligent act or omission committed by his employee. Although the employer is not the actual tortfeasor, the law makes him vicariously liable on the basis of the civil law principle of pater familias for failure to exercise due care and vigilance over the acts of ones subordinates to prevent damage to another.[10] In the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the employer may invoke the defense that he observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. As its core defense, Filcar contends that Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code is inapplicable because it presupposes the existence of an employer-employee relationship. According to Filcar, it cannot be held liable under the subject provisions because the driver of its vehicle at the time of the accident, Floresca, is not its employee but that of its Corporate Secretary, Atty. Flor. We cannot agree. It is well settled that in case of motor vehicle mishaps, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is considered as the employer of the tortfeasor-driver, and is made primarily liable for the tort committed by the latter under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code. In Equitable Leasing Corporation v. Suyom,[11] we ruled that in so far as third persons are concerned, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is the employer of the negligent driver, and the actual employer is considered merely as an agent of such owner.

In that case, a tractor registered in the name of Equitable Leasing Corporation (Equitable) figured in an accident, killing and seriously injuring several persons. As part of its defense, Equitable claimed that the tractor was initially leased to Mr. Edwin Lim under a Lease Agreement, which agreement has been overtaken by a Deed of Sale entered into by Equitable and Ecatine Corporation (Ecatine). Equitable argued that it cannot be held liable for damages because the tractor had already been sold to Ecatine at the time of the accident and the negligent driver was not its employee but of Ecatine. In upholding the liability of Equitable, as registered owner of the tractor, this Court said that regardless of sales made of a motor vehicle, the registered owner is the lawful operator insofar as the public and third persons are concerned; consequently, it is directly and primarily responsible for the consequences of its operation.[12] The Court further stated that [i]n contemplation of law, the owner/operator of record is the employer of the driver, the actual operator and employer being considered as merely its agent.[13] Thus, Equitable, as the registered owner of the tractor, was considered under the law on quasi delict to be the employer of the driver, Raul Tutor; Ecatine, Tutors actual employer, was deemed merely as an agent of Equitable. Thus, it is clear that for the purpose of holding the registered owner of the motor vehicle primarily and directly liable for damages under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code, the existence of an employer-employee relationship, as it is understood in labor relations law, is not required. It is sufficient to establish that Filcar is the registered owner of the motor vehicle causing damage in order that it may be held vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

Rationale for holding the registered owner vicariously liable The rationale for the rule that a registered owner is vicariously liable for damages caused by the operation of his motor vehicle is explained by the principle behind motor vehicle registration, which has been discussed by this Court in Erezo, and cited by the CA in its decision: The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running on public highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles without positive identification of the owner or drivers, or with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that the motor vehicle registration is primarily ordained, in the interest of the determination of persons responsible for damages or injuries caused on public highways. [emphasis ours]

Thus, whether there is an employer-employee relationship between the registered owner and the driver is irrelevant in determining the liability of the registered owner who the law holdsprimarily and directly responsible for any accident, injury or death caused by the operation of the vehicle in the streets and highways. As explained by this Court in Erezo, the general public policy involved in motor vehicle registration is the protection of innocent third persons who may have no means of identifying public road malefactors and, therefore, would find it difficult if not impossible to seek redress for damages they may sustain in accidents resulting in deaths, injuries and other damages; by fixing the person held primarily and directly liable for the damages sustained by victims of road mishaps, the law ensures that relief will always be available to them. To identify the person primarily and directly responsible for the damages would also prevent a situation where a registered owner of a motor vehicle can easily escape liability by passing on the blame to another who may have no means to answer for the damages caused, thereby defeating the claims of victims of road accidents. We take note that some motor vehicles running on our roads are driven not by their registered owners, but by employed drivers who, in most instances, do not have the financial means to pay for the damages caused in case of accidents. These same principles apply by analogy to the case at bar. Filcar should not be permitted to evade its liability for damages by conveniently passing on the blame to another party; in this case, its

Corporate Secretary, Atty. Flor and his alleged driver, Floresca. Following our reasoning in Equitable, the agreement between Filcar and Atty. Flor to assign the motor vehicle to the latter does not bind Espinas who was not a party to and has no knowledge of the agreement, and whose only recourse is to the motor vehicle registration. Neither can Filcar use the defenses available under Article 2180 of the Civil Code - that the employee acts beyond the scope of his assigned task or that it exercised the due diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage - because the motor vehicle registration law, to a certain extent, modified Article 2180 of the Civil Code by making these defenses unavailable to the registered owner of the motor vehicle. Thus, for as long as Filcar is the registered owner of the car involved in the vehicular accident, it could not escape primary liability for the damages caused to Espinas. The public interest involved in this case must not be underestimated. Road safety is one of the most common problems that must be addressed in this country. We are not unaware of news of road accidents involving reckless drivers victimizing our citizens. Just recently, such pervasive recklessness among most drivers took the life of a professor of our state university.[14] What is most disturbing is that our existing laws do not seem to deter these road malefactors from committing acts of recklessness. We understand that the solution to the problem does not stop with legislation. An effective administration and enforcement of the laws must be ensured to reinforce discipline among drivers and to remind owners of motor vehicles to exercise due diligence and vigilance over the acts of their drivers to prevent damage to others. Thus, whether the driver of the motor vehicle, Floresca, is an employee of Filcar is irrelevant in arriving at the conclusion that Filcar is primarily and directly liable for the damages sustained by Espinas. While Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code does not contain any provision on the liability of registered owners in case of motor vehicle mishaps, Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code imposes an obligation upon Filcar, as registered owner, to answer for the damages caused to Espinas car. This interpretation is consistent with the strong public policy of maintaining road safety, thereby reinforcing the aim of the State to promote the responsible operation of motor vehicles by its citizens. This does not mean, however, that Filcar is left without any recourse against the actual employer of the driver and the driver himself. Under the civil law principle of unjust enrichment, the registered owner of the motor vehicle has a right to be indemnified by the actual employer of the driver of the amount that he may be required to pay as damages for the injury caused to another.

The set-up may be inconvenient for the registered owner of the motor vehicle, but the inconvenience cannot outweigh the more important public policy being advanced by the law in this case which is the protection of innocent persons who may be victims of reckless drivers and irresponsible motor vehicle owners. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision dated February 16, 2006 and the resolution dated July 6, 2006 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner Filcar Transport Services. SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 159636. November 25, 2004]

VICTORY LINER, INC., petitioner, vs. ROSALITO GAMMAD, APRIL ROSSAN P. GAMMAD, ROI ROZANO P. GAMMAD and DIANA FRANCES P. GAMMAD,respondents. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the April 11, 2003 decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 63290 which affirmed with modification the November 6, 1998 decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Branch 5 finding petitioner Victory Liner, Inc. liable for breach of contract of carriage in Civil Case No. 5023. The facts as testified by respondent Rosalito Gammad show that on March 14, 1996, his wife Marie Grace Pagulayan-Gammad,[3] was on board an air-conditioned Victory Liner bus bound for Tuguegarao, Cagayan from Manila. At about 3:00 a.m., the bus while running at a high speed fell on a ravine somewhere in Barangay Baliling, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, which resulted in the death of Marie Grace and physical injuries to other passengers.[4] On May 14, 1996, respondent heirs of the deceased filed a complaint[5] for damages arising from culpa contractual against petitioner. In its answer,[6] the petitioner claimed that the incident was purely accidental and that it has always exercised extraordinary diligence in its 50 years of operation.

After several re-settings,[7] pre-trial was set on April 10, 1997.[8] For failure to appear on the said date, petitioner was declared as in default.[9] However, on petitioners motion[10] to lift the order of default, the same was granted by the trial court.[11] At the pre-trial on May 6, 1997, petitioner did not want to admit the proposed stipulation that the deceased was a passenger of the Victory Liner Bus which fell on the ravine and that she was issued Passenger Ticket No. 977785. Respondents, for their part, did not accept petitioners proposal to pay P50,000.00.[12] After respondent Rosalito Gammad completed his direct testimony, cross-examination was scheduled for November 17, 1997[13] but moved to December 8, 1997,[14] because the parties and the counsel failed to appear. On December 8, 1997, counsel of petitioner was absent despite due notice and was deemed to have waived right to cross-examine respondent Rosalito.[15] Petitioners motion to reset the presentation of its evidence to March 25, 1998 [16] was granted. However, on March 24, 1998, the counsel of petitioner sent the court a telegram [17] requesting postponement but the telegram was received by the trial court on March 25, 1998, after it had issued an order considering the case submitted for decision for failure of petitioner and counsel to appear.[18] On November 6, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of respondents, the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered and in the interest of justice, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant Victory Liner, Incorporated, ordering the latter to pay the following: 1. Actual Damages -------------------- P 122,000.00 2. Death Indemnity --------------------50,000.00 3. Exemplary and Moral Damages----- 400,000.00 4. Compensatory Damages ---------- 1,500,000.00 5. Attorneys Fees ------------ 10% of the total amount granted Cost of the Suit.

6.

SO ORDERED.[19] On appeal by petitioner, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court with modification as follows: [T]he Decision dated 06 November 1998 is hereby MODIFIED to reflect that the following are hereby adjudged in favor of plaintiffs-appellees: 1. 2. 3. Actual Damages in the amount of P88,270.00; Compensatory Damages in the amount of P1,135,536,10; Moral and Exemplary Damages in the amount of P400,000.00; and 4. Attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the sum of the actual, compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages herein adjudged.

The court a quos judgment of the cost of the suit against defendant-appellant is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.[20] Represented by a new counsel, petitioner on May 21, 2003 filed a motion for reconsideration praying that the case be remanded to the trial court for cross- examination of respondents witness and for the presentation of its evidence; or in the alternative, dismiss the respondents complaint.[21] Invoking APEX Mining, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[22] petitioner argues, inter alia, that the decision of the trial court should be set aside because the negligence of its former counsel, Atty. Antonio B. Paguirigan, in failing to appear at the scheduled hearings and move for reconsideration of the orders declaring petitioner to have waived the right to cross-examine respondents witness and right to present evidence, deprived petitioner of its day in court. On August 21, 2003, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.[23] Hence, this petition for review principally based on the fact that the mistake or gross negligence of its counsel deprived petitioner of due process of law. Petitioner also argues that the trial courts award of damages were without basis and should be deleted. The issues for resolution are: (1) whether petitioners counsel was guilty of gross negligence; (2) whether petitioner should be held liable for breach of contract of carriage; and (3) whether the award of damages was proper. It is settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. This is based on the rule that any act performed by a counsel within the scope of his general or implied authority is regarded as an act of his client. Consequently, the mistake or negligence of counsel may result in the rendition of an unfavorable judgment against the client. However, the application of the general rule to a given case should be looked into and adopted according to the surrounding circumstances obtaining. Thus, exceptions to the foregoing have been recognized by the court in cases where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law, or when its application will result in outright deprivation of the clients liberty or property or where the interests of justice so require, and accord relief to the client who suffered by reason of the lawyers gross or palpable mistake or negligence.[24] The exceptions, however, are not present in this case. The record shows that Atty. Paguirigan filed an Answer and Pre-trial Brief for petitioner. Although initially declared as in default, Atty. Paguirigan successfully moved for the setting aside of the order of default. In fact, petitioner was represented by Atty. Paguirigan at the pre-trial who proposed settlement for P50,000.00. Although Atty. Paguirigan failed to file motions for reconsideration of the orders declaring petitioner to have waived the right to cross-examine respondents witness and to present evidence, he nevertheless, filed a timely appeal with the Court of Appeals assailing the decision of the trial court. Hence, petitioners claim that it was denied due process lacks basis. Petitioner too is not entirely blameless. Prior to the issuance of the order declaring it as in default for not appearing at the pre-trial, three notices (dated October 23, 1996,[25] January 30, 1997,[26] and March 26, 1997,[27]) requiring attendance at the pre-trial were sent and duly received by petitioner. However, it was only on April 27, 1997, after the issuance of the April 10, 1997 order of default for failure to appear at the pre-trial when petitioner, through its finance and administrative manager, executed a special power of attorney[28] authorizing Atty. Paguirigan or any member of his law firm to represent petitioner at the pre-trial. Petitioner is guilty, at the least, of contributory negligence and fault cannot be imputed solely on previous counsel.

The case of APEX Mining, Inc., invoked by petitioner is not on all fours with the case at bar. In APEX, the negligent counsel not only allowed the adverse decision against his client to become final and executory, but deliberately misrepresented in the progress report that the case was still pending with the Court of Appeals when the same was dismissed 16 months ago.[29] These circumstances are absent in this case because Atty. Paguirigan timely filed an appeal from the decision of the trial court with the Court of Appeals. In Gold Line Transit, Inc. v. Ramos,[30] the Court was similarly confronted with the issue of whether or not the client should bear the adverse consequences of its counsels negligence. In that case, Gold Line Transit, Inc. (Gold Line) and its lawyer failed to appear at the pre-trial despite notice and was declared as in default. After the plaintiffs presentation of evidence ex parte, the trial court rendered decision ordering Gold Line to pay damages to the heirs of its deceased passenger. The decision became final and executory because counsel of Gold Line did not file any appeal. Finding that Goldline was not denied due process of law and is thus bound by the negligence of its lawyer, the Court held as follows This leads us to the question of whether the negligence of counsel was so gross and reckless that petitioner was deprived of its right to due process of law. We do not believe so. It cannot be denied that the requirements of due process were observed in the instant case. Petitioner was never deprived of its day in court, as in fact it was afforded every opportunity to be heard. Thus, it is of record that notices were sent to petitioner and that its counsel was able to file a motion to dismiss the complaint, an answer to the complaint, and even a pre-trial brief. What was irretrievably lost by petitioner was its opportunity to participate in the trial of the case and to adduce evidence in its behalf because of negligence. 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 petitioner succeeded in defending its rights and interests, but simply, whether it had the opportunity to present its side of the controversy. Verily, as petitioner retained the services of counsel of its choice, it should, as far as this suit is concerned, bear the consequences of its choice of a faulty option. Its plea that it was deprived of due process echoes on hollow ground and certainly cannot elicit approval nor sympathy. To cater to petitioners arguments and reinstate its petition for relief from judgment would put a premium on the negligence of its former counsel and encourage the non-termination of this case by reason thereof. This is one case where petitioner has to bear the adverse consequences of its counsels act, for a client is bound by the action of his counsel in the conduct of a case and he cannot thereafter be heard to complain that the result might have been different had his counsel proceeded differently. The rationale for the rule is easily discernible. If the negligence of counsel be admitted as a reason for opening cases, there would never be an end to a suit so long as a new counsel could be hired every time it is shown that the prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned.[31] Similarly, in Macalalag v. Ombudsman,[32] a Philippine Postal Corporation employee charged with dishonesty was not able to file an answer and position paper. He was found guilty solely on the basis of complainants evidence and was dismissed with forfeiture of all benefits and disqualification from government service. Challenging the decision of the Ombudsman, the employee contended that the gross negligence of his counsel deprived him of due process of law. In debunking his contention, the Court said

Neither can he claim that he is not bound by his lawyers actions; it is only in case of gross or palpable negligence of counsel when the courts can step in and accord relief to a client who would have suffered thereby. If every perceived mistake, failure of diligence, lack of experience or insufficient legal knowledge of the lawyer would be admitted as a reason for the reopening of a case, there would be no end to controversy. Fundamental to our judicial system is the principle that every litigation must come to an end. It would be a clear mockery if it were otherwise. Access to the courts is guaranteed, but there must be a limit to it. Viewed vis--vis the foregoing jurisprudence, to sustain petitioners argument that it was denied due process of law due to negligence of its counsel would set a dangerous precedent. It would enable every party to render inutile any adverse order or decision through the simple expedient of alleging gross negligence on the part of its counsel. The Court will not countenance such a farce which contradicts long-settled doctrines of trial and procedure.[33] Anent the second issue, petitioner was correctly found liable for breach of contract of carriage. A common carrier is bound to carry its passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard to all the circumstances. In a contract of carriage, it is presumed that the common carrier was at fault or was negligent when a passenger dies or is injured. Unless the presumption is rebutted, the court need not even make an express finding of fault or negligence on the part of the common carrier. This statutory presumption may only be overcome by evidence that the carrier exercised extraordinary diligence.[34] In the instant case, there is no evidence to rebut the statutory presumption that the proximate cause of Marie Graces death was the negligence of petitioner. Hence, the courts below correctly ruled that petitioner was guilty of breach of contract of carriage. Nevertheless, the award of damages should be modified. Article 1764[35] in relation to Article 2206[36] of the Civil Code, holds the common carrier in breach of its contract of carriage that results in the death of a passenger liable to pay the following: (1) indemnity for death, (2) indemnity for loss of earning capacity, and (3) moral damages. In the present case, respondent heirs of the deceased are entitled to indemnity for the death of Marie Grace which under current jurisprudence is fixed at P50,000.00.[37] The award of compensatory damages for the loss of the deceaseds earning capacity should be deleted for lack of basis. As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence when (1) the deceased is self-employed earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws, and judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the deceaseds line of work no documentary evidence is available; or (2) the deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws.[38] In People v. Oco,[39] the evidence presented by the prosecution to recover damages for loss of earning capacity was the bare testimony of the deceaseds wife that her husband was earning P8,000.00 monthly as a legal researcher of a private corporation. Finding that the deceased was neither selfemployed nor employed as a daily-wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under the labor laws existing at the time of his death, the Court held that testimonial evidence alone is insufficient to justify an award for loss of earning capacity.

Likewise, in People v. Caraig,[40] damages for loss of earning capacity was not awarded because the circumstances of the 3 deceased did not fall within the recognized exceptions, and except for the testimony of their wives, no documentary proof about their income was presented by the prosecution. Thus The testimonial evidence shows that Placido Agustin, Roberto Raagas, and Melencio Castro Jr. were not self-employed or employed as daily-wage workers earning less than the minimum wage under the labor laws existing at the time of their death. Placido Agustin was a Social Security System employee who received a monthly salary of P5,000. Roberto Raagas was the President of Sinclair Security and Allied Services, a family owned corporation, with a monthly compensation of P30,000. Melencio Castro Jr. was a taxi driver of New Rocalex with an average daily earning of P500 or a monthly earning of P7,500. Clearly, these cases do not fall under the exceptions where indemnity for loss of earning capacity can be given despite lack of documentary evidence. Therefore, for lack of documentary proof, no indemnity for loss of earning capacity can be given in these cases. (Emphasis supplied) Here, the trial court and the Court of Appeals computed the award of compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity only on the basis of the testimony of respondent Rosalito that the deceased was 39 years of age and a Section Chief of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Tuguergarao District Office with a salary of P83,088.00 per annum when she died.[41] No other evidence was presented. The award is clearly erroneous because the deceaseds earnings does not fall within the exceptions. However, the fact of loss having been established, temperate damages in the amount of P500,000.00 should be awarded to respondents. Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate or moderate damages, which are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages, may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount can not, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty. In Pleno v. Court of Appeals,[42] the Court sustained the trial courts award of P200,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages for loss of earning capacity because the income of the victim was not sufficiently proven, thus The trial court based the amounts of damages awarded to the petitioner on the following circumstances: As to the loss or impairment of earning capacity, there is no doubt that Pleno is an ent*re+preneur and the founder of his own corporation, the Mayon Ceramics Corporation. It appears also that he is an industrious and resourceful person with several projects in line, and were it not for the incident, might have pushed them through. On the day of the incident, Pleno was driving homeward with geologist Longley after an ocular inspection of the site of the Mayon Ceramics Corporation. His actual income however has not been sufficiently established so that this Court cannot award actual damages, but, an award of temperate or moderate damages may still be made on loss or impairment of earning capacity. That Pleno sustained a permanent deformity due to a shortened left leg and that he also suffers from double vision in his left eye is also established. Because of this, he suffers from some inferiority complex and is no longer active in business as well as in social life. In similar cases as in Borromeo v. Manila Electric Railroad Co., 44 Phil 165; Coriage, et al. v. LTB Co., et al., L-11037, Dec. 29, 1960, and in Araneta, et al. v. Arreglado, et al., L-11394, Sept. 9, 1958, the proper award of damages were given.

We rule that the lower courts awards of damages are more consonant with the factual circumstances of the instant case. The trial courts findings of facts are clear and well-developed. Each item of damages is adequately supported by evidence on record. Article 2224 of the Civil Code was likewise applied in the recent cases of People v. Singh[43] and People v. Almedilla,[44] to justify the award of temperate damages in lieu of damages for loss of earning capacity which was not substantiated by the required documentary proof. Anent the award of moral damages, the same cannot be lumped with exemplary damages because they are based on different jural foundations.[45] These damages are different in nature and require separate determination.[46] In culpa contractual or breach of contract, moral damages may be recovered when the defendant acted in bad faith or was guilty of gross negligence (amounting to bad faith) or in wanton disregard of contractual obligations and, as in this case, when the act of breach of contract itself constitutes the tort that results in physical injuries. By special rule in Article 1764 in relation to Article 2206 of the Civil Code, moral damages may also be awarded in case the death of a passenger results from a breach of carriage.[47] On the other hand, exemplary damages, which are awarded by way of example or correction for the public good may be recovered in contractual obligations if the defendant acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.[48] Respondents in the instant case should be awarded moral damages to compensate for the grief caused by the death of the deceased resulting from the petitioners breach of contract of carriage. Furthermore, the petitioner failed to prove that it exercised the extraordinary diligence required for common carriers, it is presumed to have acted recklessly.[49] Thus, the award of exemplary damages is proper. Under the circumstances, we find it reasonable to award respondents the amount of P100,000.00 as moral damages and P100,000.00 as exemplary damages. These amounts are not excessive.[50] The actual damages awarded by the trial court reduced by the Court of Appeals should be further reduced. In People v. Duban,[51] it was held that only substantiated and proven expenses or those that appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death, wake or burial of the victim will be recognized. A list of expenses (Exhibit J),[52] and the contract/receipt for the construction of the tomb (Exhibit F)[53]in this case, cannot be considered competent proof and cannot replace the official receipts necessary to justify the award. Hence, actual damages should be further reduced to P78,160.00,[54] which was the amount supported by official receipts. Pursuant to Article 2208[55] of the Civil Code, attorneys fees may also be recovered in the case at bar where exemplary damages are awarded. The Court finds the award of attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the total amount adjudged against petitioner reasonable. Finally, in Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[56] it was held that when an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for payment of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages, subject to the following rules, to wit 1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default,

i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. 2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged. 3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit. (Emphasis supplied). In the instant case, petitioner should be held liable for payment of interest as damages for breach of contract of carriage. Considering that the amounts payable by petitioner has been determined with certainty only in the instant petition, the interest due shall be computed upon the finality of this decision at the rate of 12% per annum until satisfaction, per paragraph 3 of the aforecited rule.[57] WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The April 11, 2003 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 63290, which modified the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan in Civil Case No. 5023, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. As modified, petitioner Victory Liner, Inc., is ordered to pay respondents the following: (1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Marie Grace Pagulayan-Gammad; (2) P100,000.00 as moral damages; (3) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; (4) P78,160.00 as actual damages; (5) P500,000.00 as temperate damages; (6) 10% of the total amount as attorneys fees; and the costs of suit. Furthermore, the total amount adjudged against petitioner shall earn interest at the rate of 12% per annum computed from the finality of this decision until fully paid. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-28512 February 28, 1973 PEDRO R. DAVILA and PRECIOSA C. TIRO, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. PHILIPPINE AIR LINES, defendant-appellant. Dizon, De Guzman and Vitug and Pedro R. Davila for plaintiffs-appellants. Siguion Reyna, Montecillo, Belo and Ongsiako for defendant-appellant.

MAKALINTAL, J.: In Civil Case No. 5728 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo (Pedro R. Davila and Preciosa C. Tirol, plaintiffs, vs. Philippine Air Lines, Inc., defendant) judgment was rendered ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs various sums of money, as follows: (1) For the death of Pedro T. Davila, Jr. the amount of P6,000.00; (2) For the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased at the rate of P12,000.00 per annum for five (5) years in the amount of Sixty Thousand Pesos. (P60,000.00); (3) For moral damages in favor of the plaintiffs Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00); (4) For exemplary damages in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00); (5) For actual damages the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) broken down to as follows: A rolex watch valued at P600.00; a pistol worth P300.00; burial expenses P600.00; for the lot and the mausoleum P3,500.00; (6) For Attorney's fees the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) or a total amount of One Hundred and One Thousand Pesos (P101,000.00) To pay the costs of this proceedings. Both parties appealed directly to this Court in view of the aggregate of the amounts awarded, the judgment having been rendered before the effectivity of Rep. Act No. 5440. In this appeal the plaintiffs seek an increase in said amounts, and the defendant, complete exoneration from, or at least mitigation of, liability. The case arose from the tragic crash of a passenger plane of the defendant which took the lives of all its crew and passengers. The plane, identified as PI-C133, was a DC-3 type of aircraft, manufactured in 1942 and acquired by the defendant in 1948. It had flown almost 18,000 hours at the time of its ill-fated flight. Despite its age, however, it had been certified as airworthy by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. On November 23, 1960, at 5:30 in the afternoon, it took off from the Manduriao Airport, Iloilo, on its way to Manila, with 33 people on board, including the plane's complement. It did not reach

its destination, but crashed at Mt. Baco, Mindoro, one hour and fifteen minutes after take-off. A massive search was undertaken by the defendant and by other parties as soon as it was realized that the plane's arrival in Manila was overdue. The plaintiffs, parents of Pedro T. Davila, Jr., who was one of the passengers, had no definite news of what had happened to their son, getting what information they could only from conflicting newspaper reports, until they received, on December 19, 1960, a letter of condolence from the defendant's president Andres Soriano, informing them that their son had died in the crash. And it was only on December 29 that his body was recovered an taken back to Iloilo. The issues before the trial court, and now before Us in this appeal, are whether or not the defendant is liable for violation of its contract of carriage and if so, for how much. The provisions of the Civil Code on this substantive question of liability are clear and explicit. Article 1733 binds common carriers, "from the nature of their business and by reasons of public policy, ... to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance ... for the safety of the passengers transported by them according to all the circumstances of each case." Article 1755 establishes the standard of care required of a common carrier, which is, "to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances." Article 1756 fixes the burden of proof by providing that "in case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733 and 1755." Lastly, Article 1757 states that "the responsibility of a common carrier for the safety of passengers ... cannot be dispensed with or lessened by stipulation, by the posting of notices, by statements on tickets, or otherwise." The route prescribed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration for the flight of plane PI-C113 in the afternoon of November 23, 1960 was Iloilo-Romblon-Manila, the latter stage, denominated as airway "Amber I," being a straight lane from Romblon to Manila. The prescribed elevation of the flight was 6,000 ft. The plane reported its position after take-off and again when it was abeam the Roxas homer. However, it did not intercept airway "Amber I" over Romblon as it was supposed to do, and the pilot did not give his position then although Romblon was a compulsory checking point. The fact was that the plane had deviated from the prescribed route by 32 miles to the west when it crashed at Mt. Baco. The reading of the altimeter of the plane when its wreckage was found was 6,800 ft. There is a suggestion that in the course of the flight between Romblon and Mindoro the aircraft was drifted westward by the cross-winds then blowing in the region. The defendant, however, has not given a definite explanation as to why, if such was the case, the pilot failed to make the necessary correction in his flight to compensate for the drift. According to the defendant's witness, Maj. Mijares, Chief of the Aviation Safety Division of the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Chairman of the CAA Investigating Committee, there was a navigational error, to which several factors contributed: "the weather observation at that time from the Weather Bureau was not so good between Mt. Baco and Romblon and the wind aloft was quite strong, which would be also one of the causes for the drifting of the aircraft; and the other strong probability, I would say, would be the malfunction of the aircraft's navigational instrument." He further explained that "a cross-wind can drift the plane if the pilot will not make the necessary correction, if his navigational instrument is malfunctioning and the visual reference outside the aircraft could not make the necessary corrections." There is nothing in the testimony of Maj. Mijares to show just how strong the cross-winds were in the region at the time, although in the investigation of the accident by the Senate Committee on transportation there was testimony that the cross-winds had a velocity of either 20 to 25 knots or 25 to 35 knots an hour. Considering the relatively short distance from Romblon to Mt. Baco and the brief span

of time it would take to fly that distance, cross-winds with the velocity stated could not have possibly deviated the plane by as much as 32 miles. The defendant points out that the navigational instrument on board the plane consisted of two (2) sets of automatic direction finders (ADF) which, when found after the crash, showed a reading that the aircraft was heading north, which was the proper flight direction. This point, however, is of no vital significance in this case since it does not explain why the aircraft was 32 miles off its prescribed route in the first place. It is suggested that the pilot did not notice the drift of his plane because of poor visibility due to thick clouds, which prevented him from making the corresponding correction on the basis of visual references to the terrain outside. But according to Maj. Mijares himself the report from the Weather Bureau at the time showed that visibility was 15 miles between Romblon and Mt. Baco and that the clouds from 2,700 to 7,000 ft. elevation were "scattered." And the profile of the probable weather cross-section along airway "Amber I" during the flight (Exh. 33-A) shows that at 6,000 ft. the airlane was clear and free of clouds. The suggestion therefore that the pilot was practically flying blind and consequently failed to notice the drift of the aircraft is not justified by the evidence. Indeed even the investigating team of the defendant under the chairmanship of Capt. Jaime Manzano concluded in its report that "based on the limited evidences available, the board is of the opinion that the probable cause was the inability of the pilot to intersect airway "Amber I" over Romblon and to maintain track within its designated airway lane for reasons unknown." What is undisputed therefore is that the pilot did not follow the route prescribed for his flight, at least between Romblon and Manila. Since up to that point over Romblon, where he was supposed to intersect airway "Amber I" the weather was clear, the most reasonable conclusion is that his failure to do so was intentional, and that he probably wanted to fly on a straight line to Manila. It was a violation of air-craft traffic rules to which, under the circumstances, the accident may be directly attributable. In any case, absent a satisfactory explanation on the part of the defendant as to how and why the accident occurred, the presumption is that it was at fault, under Article 1756 of the Civil Code. The next question relates to the amount of damages that should be awarded to the plaintiffs, parents of the deceased. The trial court fixed the indemnity for his death in the amount of P6,000.00. Pursuant to current jurisprudence on the point it should be increased to P12,000.00. 1 The deceased was employed as manager of a radio station 2, from which he was earning P8,400.00 a year, consisting of a monthly salary of P600.00 and allowance of P100.00. As a lawyer and junior partner of his father in the law office, he had an annual income of P3,600.00. From farming he was getting an average of P3,000.00. All in all therefore the deceased had gross earnings of P15,000.00 a year. According to Article 2206, paragraph (1), of the Civil Code, "the defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased and indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter." This Article, while referring to "damages for death caused by crime or quasi-delict," is expressly made applicable by Article 1764 "to the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract by a common carrier." The deceased, Pedro Davila, Jr., was single and 30 years of age when he died. At that age one's normal life expectancy is 33-1/3 years, according to the formula (2/3 x [80-30]) adopted by this Court in the case of Villa Rey Transit, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals 3 on the basis of the American Expectancy Table of Mortality or the Actuarial of Combined Experience Table of Mortality. However, although the deceased was in

relatively good health, his medical history shows that he had complained of and been treated for such ailments as backaches, chest pains and occasional feelings of tiredness. It is reasonable to make an allowance for these circumstances and consider, for purposes of this case, a reduction of his life expectancy to 25 years. In the same case of Villa Revenue Transit this Court stated: "... earning capacity, as an element of damages to one's estate for his death by wrongful act is necessarily his net earning capacity or his capacity to acquire money, less the necessary expense for his own living. Stated otherwise, the amount recoverable is not loss of the entire earnings, but rather the loss of that portion of the earnings which the beneficiary would have received. In other words, only net earnings, not gross earnings, are to be considered, that is, the total of the earnings less expenses necessary in the creation of such earnings or income and less living and other incidental expenses." Considering the fact that the deceased was getting his income from three (3) different sources, namely from managing a radio station, from law practice and from farming, the expenses incidental to the generation of such income were necessarily more than if he had only one source. Together with his living expenses, a deduction of P600.00 a month, or P7,200.00 a year, seems to Us reasonable, leaving a net yearly income of P7,800.00. This amount, multiplied by 25 years, or P195,000.00 is the amount which should be awarded to the plaintiffs in this particular respect. Actual losses sustained consist of the following, as found by the trial court: "Rolex Watch P600.00; pistol P300.00; Burial Expenses P600.00; and cost of cemetery lot and mausoleum - P3,500.00." Under Article 2206, in relation to Article 1764, of the Civil Code, the parents of the deceased are entitled to moral damages for their mental anguish. The trial court awarded P10,000.00 in this concept, and We find no justification to change the award, considering the long period of uncertainty and suffering the plaintiffs underwent from November 23, when the plane crash occurred, to December 19, when they received a letter from the defendant's president confirming the death of their son, and again to the following December 29, when his body was finally recovered and taken back to them. With respect to the award of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, it is Our opinion that the same should be eliminated. According to Article 2232 of the Civil Code, in contracts and quasi-contracts the court may award exemplary damages if the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner. The failure of the defendant here to exercise extraordinary diligence, as required by law, does not amount to anyone of the circumstances contemplated in the said provision. The trial court has awarded attorney's fees of P10,000.00. We do not find this award groundless or the amount thereof unreasonable. The total of the different items above enumerated is P232,000.00. The judgment of the court a quo is therefore modified accordingly and the defendant is ordered to pay the said amount to the plaintiffs, with legal interest thereon from the finality of this judgment. With costs against the defendant.

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 138060. September 1, 2004]

WILLIAM TIU, doing business under the name and style of D Rough Riders, and VIRGILIO TE LAS PIAS petitioners, vs. PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO, BENJAMIN CONDOR, SERGIO PEDRANO and PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE, INC., respondents. DECISION CALLEJO, SR., J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 54354 affirming with modification the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial Region, Cebu City, Branch 20, in Civil Case No. CEB-5963 for breach of contract of carriage, damages and attorneys fees, and the Resolution dated February 26, 1999 denying the motion for reconsideration thereof. The following facts are undisputed: At about 10:00 p.m. of March 15, 1987, the cargo truck marked Condor Hollow Blocks and General Merchandise bearing plate number GBP-675 was loaded with firewood in Bogo, Cebu and left for CebuCity. Upon reaching Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu, just as the truck passed over a bridge, one of its rear tires exploded. The driver, Sergio Pedrano, then parked along the right side of the national highway and removed the damaged tire to have it vulcanized at a nearby shop, about 700 meters away.[3] Pedrano left his helper, Jose Mitante, Jr. to keep watch over the stalled vehicle, and instructed the latter to place a spare tire six fathoms away[4] behind the stalled truck to serve as a warning for oncoming vehicles. The trucks tail lights were also left on. It was about 12:00 a.m., March 16, 1987. At about 4:45 a.m., D Rough Riders passenger bus with plate number PBP-724 driven by Virgilio Te Laspias was cruising along the national highway of Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu. The passenger bus was also bound for Cebu City, and had come from Maya, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Among its passengers were the Spouses Pedro A. Arriesgado and Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, who were seated at the right side of the bus, about three (3) or four (4) places from the front seat. As the bus was approaching the bridge, Laspias saw the stalled truck, which was then about 25 meters away.[5] He applied the breaks and tried to swerve to the left to avoid hitting the truck. But it was too late; the bus rammed into the trucks left rear. The impact damaged the right side of the bus and left several passengers injured. Pedro Arriesgado lost consciousness and suffered a fracture in his right colles.[6] His wife, Felisa, was brought to the Danao City Hospital. She was later transferred to the Southern Island Medical Center where she died shortly thereafter.[7] Respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado then filed a complaint for breach of contract of carriage, damages and attorneys fees before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 20, against the petitioners, D

Rough Riders bus operator William Tiu and his driver, Virgilio Te Laspias on May 27, 1987. The respondent alleged that the passenger bus in question was cruising at a fast and high speed along the national road, and that petitioner Laspias did not take precautionary measures to avoid the accident.[8] Thus: 6. That the accident resulted to the death of the plaintiffs wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, as evidenced by a Certificate of Death, a xerox copy of which is hereto attached as integral part hereof and marked as ANNEX A, and physical injuries to several of its passengers, including plaintiff himself who suffered a COLLES FRACTURE RIGHT, per Medical Certificate, a xerox copy of which is hereto attached as integral part hereof and marked as ANNEX B hereof. 7. That due to the reckless and imprudent driving by defendant Virgilio Te Laspias of the said Rough Riders passenger bus, plaintiff and his wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, failed to safely reach their destination which was Cebu City, the proximate cause of which was defendant-drivers failure to observe utmost diligence required of a very cautious person under all circumstances. 8. That defendant William Tiu, being the owner and operator of the said Rough Riders passenger bus which figured in the said accident, wherein plaintiff and his wife were riding at the time of the accident, is therefore directly liable for the breach of contract of carriage for his failure to transport plaintiff and his wife safely to their place of destination which was Cebu City, and which failure in his obligation to transport safely his passengers was due to and in consequence of his failure to exercise the diligence of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of his employees, particularly defendantdriver Virgilio Te Laspias.[9] The respondent prayed that judgment be rendered in his favor and that the petitioners be condemned to pay the following damages: 1). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P30,000.00 for the death and untimely demise of plaintiffs wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado; 2). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P38,441.50, representing actual expenses incurred by the plaintiff in connection with the death/burial of plaintiffs wife; 3). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P1,113.80, representing medical/hospitalization expenses incurred by plaintiff for the injuries sustained by him; 4). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 for moral damages; 5). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 by way of exemplary damages; 6). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P20,000.00 for attorneys fees; 7). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P5,000.00 for litigation expenses. PLAINTIFF FURTHER PRAYS FOR SUCH OTHER RELIEFS AND REMEDIES IN LAW AND EQUITY.[10]

The petitioners, for their part, filed a Third-Party Complaint[11] on August 21, 1987 against the following: respondent Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. (PPSII), petitioner Tius insurer; respondent Benjamin Condor, the registered owner of the cargo truck; and respondent Sergio Pedrano, the driver of the truck. They alleged that petitioner Laspias was negotiating the uphill climb along the national highway of Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, in a moderate and normal speed. It was further alleged that the truck was parked in a slanted manner, its rear portion almost in the middle of the highway, and that no early warning device was displayed. Petitioner Laspias promptly applied the brakes and swerved to the left to avoid hitting the truck head-on, but despite his efforts to avoid damage to property and physical injuries on the passengers, the right side portion of the bus hit the cargo trucks left rear. The petitioners further alleged, thus: 5. That the cargo truck mentioned in the aforequoted paragraph is owned and registered in the name of the third-party defendant Benjamin Condor and was left unattended by its driver Sergio Pedrano, one of the third-party defendants, at the time of the incident; 6. That third-party defendant Sergio Pedrano, as driver of the cargo truck with marked (sic) Condor Hollow Blocks & General Merchandise, with Plate No. GBP-675 which was recklessly and imprudently parked along the national highway of Compostela, Cebu during the vehicular accident in question, and third-party defendant Benjamin Condor, as the registered owner of the cargo truck who failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of third-party defendant Sergio Pedrano, are jointly and severally liable to the third-party plaintiffs for whatever liability that may be adjudged against said third-party plaintiffs or are directly liable of (sic) the alleged death of plaintiffs wife; 7. That in addition to all that are stated above and in the answer which are intended to show reckless imprudence on the part of the third-party defendants, the third-party plaintiffs hereby declare that during the vehicular accident in question, third-party defendant was clearly violating Section 34, par. (g) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code 10. That the aforesaid passenger bus, owned and operated by third-party plaintiff William Tiu, is covered by a common carrier liability insurance with Certificate of Cover No. 054940 issued by Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., Cebu City Branch, in favor of third-party plaintiff William Tiu which covers the period from July 22, 1986 to July 22, 1987 and that the said insurance coverage was valid, binding and subsisting during the time of the aforementioned incident (Annex A as part hereof); 11. That after the aforesaid alleged incident, third-party plaintiff notified third-party defendant Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., of the alleged incident hereto mentioned, but to no avail; 12. That granting, et arguendo et arguendi, if herein third-party plaintiffs will be adversely adjudged, they stand to pay damages sought by the plaintiff and therefore could also look up to the Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., for contribution, indemnification and/or reimbursement of any liability or obligation that they might [be] adjudged per insurance coverage duly entered into by and between third-party plaintiff William Tiu and third-party defendant Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc.;[12]

The respondent PPSII, for its part, admitted that it had an existing contract with petitioner Tiu, but averred that it had already attended to and settled the claims of those who were injured during the incident.[13] It could not accede to the claim of respondent Arriesgado, as such claim was way beyond the scheduled indemnity as contained in the contract of insurance. [14] After the parties presented their respective evidence, the trial court ruled in favor of respondent Arriesgado. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff as against defendant William Tiu ordering the latter to pay the plaintiff the following amounts: 1 - The sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as moral damages; 2 - The sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as exemplary damages; 3 - The sum of THIRTY-EIGHT THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-ONE PESOS (P38,441.00) as actual damages; 4 - The sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as attorneys fees; 5 - The sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as costs of suit; SO ORDERED.[15] According to the trial court, there was no dispute that petitioner William Tiu was engaged in business as a common carrier, in view of his admission that D Rough Rider passenger bus which figured in the accident was owned by him; that he had been engaged in the transportation business for 25 years with a sole proprietorship; and that he owned 34 buses. The trial court ruled that if petitioner Laspias had not been driving at a fast pace, he could have easily swerved to the left to avoid hitting the truck, thus, averting the unfortunate incident. It then concluded that petitioner Laspias was negligent. The trial court also ruled that the absence of an early warning device near the place where the truck was parked was not sufficient to impute negligence on the part of respondent Pedrano, since the tail lights of the truck were fully on, and the vicinity was well lighted by street lamps.[16] It also found that the testimony of petitioner Tiu, that he based the selection of his driver Laspias on efficiency and in-service training, and that the latter had been so far an efficient and good driver for the past six years of his employment, was insufficient to prove that he observed the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employees. After the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the said decision was denied, the petitioners elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on the following issues: I WHETHER THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT SERGIO PEDRANO WAS RECKLESS AND IMPRUDENT WHEN HE PARKED THE CARGO TRUCK IN AN OBLIQUE MANNER; II WHETHER THE THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE DIRECTLY TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE OR TO DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS FOR WHATEVER LIABILITY THAT MAY BE ADJUDGED TO THE SAID DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS;

III WHETHER DEFENDANT-APPELLANT VIRGILIO TE LASPIAS WAS GUILTY OF GROSS NEGLIGENCE; IV WHETHER DEFENDANT-APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU HAD EXERCISED THE DUE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF HIS DRIVERS; V GRANTING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT THAT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU IS LIABLE TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, WHETHER THERE IS LEGAL AND FACTUAL BASIS IN AWARDING EXCESSIVE MORAL DAMAGES, EX*E+MPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES AND LITIGATION EXPENSES TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE; VI WHETHER THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE, INC. IS LIABLE TO DEFENDANT- APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU.[17] The appellate court rendered judgment affirming the trial courts decision with the modification that the awards for moral and exemplary damages were reduced to P25,000. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated November 6, 1995 is hereby MODIFIED such that the awards for moral and exemplary damages are each reduced to P25,000.00 or a total of P50,000.00 for both. The judgment isAFFIRMED in all other respects. SO ORDERED.[18] According to the appellate court, the action of respondent Arriesgado was based not on quasidelict but on breach of contract of carriage. As a common carrier, it was incumbent upon petitioner Tiu to prove that extraordinary diligence was observed in ensuring the safety of passengers during transportation. Since the latter failed to do so, he should be held liable for respondent Arriesgados claim. The CA also ruled that no evidence was presented against the respondent PPSII, and as such, it could not be held liable for respondent Arriesgados claim, nor for contribution, indemnification and/or reimbursement in case the petitioners were adjudged liable. The petitioners now come to this Court and ascribe the following errors committed by the appellate court: I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DECLARING RESPONDENTS BENJAMIN CONDOR AND SERGIO PEDRANO GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE AND HENCE, LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO OR TO PETITIONERS FOR WHATEVER LIABILITY THAT MAY BE ADJUDGED AGAINST THEM. II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING PETITIONERS GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE AND HENCE, LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO. III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING PETITIONER WILLIAM TIU LIABLE FOR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES AND LITIGATION EXPENSES. IV.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING RESPONDENT PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE, INC. LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO OR TO PETITIONER WILLIAM TIU.[19] According to the petitioners, the appellate court erred in failing to appreciate the absence of an early warning device and/or built-in reflectors at the front and back of the cargo truck, in clear violation

of Section 34, par. (g) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. They aver that such violation is only a proof of respondent Pedranos negligence, as provided under Article 2185 of the New Civil Code. They also question the appellate courts failure to take into account that the truck was parked in an oblique manner, its rear portion almost at the center of the road. As such, the proximate cause of the incident was the gross recklessness and imprudence of respondent Pedrano, creating the presumption of negligence on the part of respondent Condor in supervising his employees, which presumption was not rebutted. The petitioners then contend that respondents Condor and Pedrano should be held jointly and severally liable to respondent Arriesgado for the payment of the latters claim. The petitioners, likewise, aver that expert evidence should have been presented to prove that petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed, and that the CA could not reach such conclusion by merely considering the damages on the cargo truck. It was also pointed out that petitioner Tiu presented evidence that he had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his drivers. The petitioners further allege that there is no legal and factual basis to require petitioner Tiu to pay exemplary damages as no evidence was presented to show that the latter acted in a fraudulent, reckless and oppressive manner, or that he had an active participation in the negligent act of petitioner Laspias. Finally, the petitioners contend that respondent PPSII admitted in its answer that while it had attended to and settled the claims of the other injured passengers, respondent Arriesgados claim remained unsettled as it was beyond the scheduled indemnity under the insurance contract. The petitioners argue that said respondent PPSII should have settled the said claim in accordance with the scheduled indemnity instead of just denying the same. On the other hand, respondent Arriesgado argues that two of the issues raised by the petitioners involved questions of fact, not reviewable by the Supreme Court: the finding of negligence on the part of the petitioners and their liability to him; and the award of exemplary damages, attorneys fees and litigation expenses in his favor. Invoking the principle of equity and justice, respondent Arriesgado pointed out that if there was an error to be reviewed in the CA decision, it should be geared towards the restoration of the moral and exemplary damages to P50,000 each, or a total of P100,000 which was reduced by the Court of Appeals to P25,000 each, or a total of only P50,000. Respondent Arriesgado also alleged that respondents Condor and Pedrano, and respondent Phoenix Surety, are parties with whom he had no contract of carriage, and had no cause of action against. It was pointed out that only the petitioners needed to be sued, as driver and operator of the illfated bus, on account of their failure to bring the Arriesgado Spouses to their place of destination as agreed upon in the contract of carriage, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons with due regard for all circumstances. Respondents Condor and Pedrano point out that, as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the proximate cause of the unfortunate incident was the fast speed at which petitioner Laspias was driving the bus owned by petitioner Tiu. According to the respondents, the allegation that the truck was not equipped with an early warning device could not in any way have prevented the incident from happening. It was also pointed out that respondent Condor had always exercised the due diligence required in the selection and supervision of his employees, and that he was not a party to the contract of carriage between the petitioners and respondent Arriesgado. Respondent PPSII, for its part, alleges that contrary to the allegation of petitioner Tiu, it settled all the claims of those injured in accordance with the insurance contract. It further avers that it did not deny respondent Arriesgados claim, and emphasizes that its liability should be within the scheduled

limits of indemnity under the said contract. The respondent concludes that while it is true that insurance contracts are contracts of indemnity, the measure of the insurers liability is determined by the insureds compliance with the terms thereof.

The Courts Ruling At the outset, it must be stressed that this Court is not a trier of facts.[20] Factual findings of the Court of Appeals are final and may not be reviewed on appeal by this Court, except when the lower court and the CA arrived at diverse factual findings.[21] The petitioners in this case assail the finding of both the trial and the appellate courts that petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed before the bus owned by petitioner Tiu collided with respondent Condors stalled truck. This is clearly one of fact, not reviewable by the Court in a petition for review under Rule 45.[22] On this ground alone, the petition is destined to fail. However, considering that novel questions of law are likewise involved, the Court resolves to examine and rule on the merits of the case. Petitioner Laspias Was negligent in driving The Ill-fated bus In his testimony before the trial court, petitioner Laspias claimed that he was traversing the twolane road at Compostela, Cebu at a speed of only forty (40) to fifty (50) kilometers per hour before the incident occurred.[23] He also admitted that he saw the truck which was parked in an oblique position at about 25 meters before impact,[24] and tried to avoid hitting it by swerving to the left. However, even in the absence of expert evidence, the damage sustained by the truck[25] itself supports the finding of both the trial court and the appellate court, that the D Rough Rider bus driven by petitioner Laspias was traveling at a fast pace. Since he saw the stalled truck at a distance of 25 meters, petitioner Laspias had more than enough time to swerve to his left to avoid hitting it; that is, if the speed of the bus was only 40 to 50 kilometers per hour as he claimed. As found by the Court of Appeals, it is easier to believe that petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed, since at 4:45 a.m., the hour of the accident, there were no oncoming vehicles at the opposite direction. Petitioner Laspias could have swerved to the left lane with proper clearance, and, thus, could have avoided the truck.[26] Instinct, at the very least, would have prompted him to apply the breaks to avert the impending disaster which he must have foreseen when he caught sight of the stalled truck. As we had occasion to reiterate: A man must use common sense, and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be cautious, careful and prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of recurring punishment. He is responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would have performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise, his own person, rights and property, and those of his fellow beings, would ever be exposed to all manner of danger and injury.[27] We agree with the following findings of the trial court, which were affirmed by the CA on appeal: A close study and evaluation of the testimonies and the documentary proofs submitted by the parties which have direct bearing on the issue of negligence, this Court as shown by preponderance of evidence

that defendant Virgilio Te Laspias failed to observe extraordinary diligence as a driver of the common carrier in this case. It is quite hard to accept his version of the incident that he did not see at a reasonable distance ahead the cargo truck that was parked when the Rough Rider [Bus] just came out of the bridge which is on an (sic) [more] elevated position than the place where the cargo truck was parked. With its headlights fully on, defendant driver of the Rough Rider was in a vantage position to see the cargo truck ahead which was parked and he could just easily have avoided hitting and bumping the same by maneuvering to the left without hitting the said cargo truck. Besides, it is (sic) shown that there was still much room or space for the Rough Rider to pass at the left lane of the said national highway even if the cargo truck had occupied the entire right lane thereof. It is not true that if the Rough Rider would proceed to pass through the left lane it would fall into a canal considering that there was much space for it to pass without hitting and bumping the cargo truck at the left lane of said national highway. The records, further, showed that there was no incoming vehicle at the opposite lane of the national highway which would have prevented the Rough Rider from not swerving to its left in order to avoid hitting and bumping the parked cargo truck. But the evidence showed that the Rough Rider instead of swerving to the still spacious left lane of the national highway plowed directly into the parked cargo truck hitting the latter at its rear portion; and thus, the (sic) causing damages not only to herein plaintiff but to the cargo truck as well.[28] Indeed, petitioner Laspias negligence in driving the bus is apparent in the records. By his own admission, he had just passed a bridge and was traversing the highway of Compostela, Cebu at a speed of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour before the collision occurred. The maximum speed allowed by law on a bridge is only 30 kilometers per hour.[29] And, as correctly pointed out by the trial court, petitioner Laspias also violated Section 35 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, Republic Act No. 4136, as amended: Sec. 35. Restriction as to speed. (a) Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall drive the same at a careful and prudent speed, not greater nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard for the traffic, the width of the highway, and or any other condition then and there existing; and no person shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway at such speed as to endanger the life, limb and property of any person, nor at a speed greater than will permit him to bring the vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.[30] Under Article 2185 of the Civil Code, a person driving a vehicle is presumed negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.[31] Petitioner Tiu failed to Overcome the presumption Of negligence against him as One engaged in the business Of common carriage The rules which common carriers should observe as to the safety of their passengers are set forth in the Civil Code, Articles 1733,[32] 1755[33] and 1756.[34] In this case, respondent Arriesgado and his deceased wife contracted with petitioner Tiu, as owner and operator of D Rough Riders bus service, for transportation from Maya, Daanbantayan, Cebu, to Cebu City for the price of P18.00.[35] It is undisputed that the respondent and his wife were not safely transported to the destination agreed upon. In actions for breach of contract, only the existence of such contract, and the fact that the obligor, in this case the common carrier, failed to transport his passenger safely to his destination are the matters that need to

be proved.[36] This is because under the said contract of carriage, the petitioners assumed the express obligation to transport the respondent and his wife to their destination safely and to observe extraordinary diligence with due regard for all circumstances.[37] Any injury suffered by the passengers in the course thereof is immediately attributable to the negligence of the carrier.[38] Upon the happening of the accident, the presumption of negligence at once arises, and it becomes the duty of a common carrier to prove that he observed extraordinary diligence in the care of his passengers.[39] It must be stressed that in requiring the highest possible degree of diligence from common carriers and in creating a presumption of negligence against them, the law compels them to curb the recklessness of their drivers.[40] While evidence may be submitted to overcome such presumption of negligence, it must be shown that the carrier observed the required extraordinary diligence, which means that the carrier must show the utmost diligence of very cautious persons as far as human care and foresight can provide, or that the accident was caused by fortuitous event.[41] As correctly found by the trial court, petitioner Tiu failed to conclusively rebut such presumption. The negligence of petitioner Laspias as driver of the passenger bus is, thus, binding against petitioner Tiu, as the owner of the passenger bus engaged as a common carrier.[42] The Doctrine of Last Clear Chance Is Inapplicable in the Case at Bar Contrary to the petitioners contention, the principle of last clear chance is inapplicable in the instant case, as it only applies in a suit between the owners and drivers of two colliding vehicles. It does not arise where a passenger demands responsibility from the carrier to enforce its contractual obligations, for it would be inequitable to exempt the negligent driver and its owner on the ground that the other driver was likewise guilty of negligence.[43] The common law notion of last clear chance permitted courts to grant recovery to a plaintiff who has also been negligent provided that the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the casualty and failed to do so. Accordingly, it is difficult to see what role, if any, the common law of last clear chance doctrine has 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, as it has been in Article 2179 of the Civil Code.[44] Thus, petitioner Tiu cannot escape liability for the death of respondent Arriesgados wife due to the negligence of petitioner Laspias, his employee, on this score. Respondents Pedrano and Condor were likewise Negligent In Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[45] where therein respondent Dionisio sustained injuries when his vehicle rammed against a dump truck parked askew, the Court ruled that the improper parking of a dump truck without any warning lights or reflector devices created an unreasonable risk for anyone driving within the vicinity, and for having created such risk, the truck driver must be held responsible. In ruling against the petitioner therein, the Court elucidated, thus: In our view, Dionisios negligence, although later in point of time than the truck drivers negligence, and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or independent cause. What the petitioners describe as an intervening cause was no more than a foreseeable consequence of the risk

created by the negligent manner in which the truck driver had parked the dump truck. In other words, 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. Dionisios negligence was not that 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. We hold that private respondent Dionisios negligence was only contributory, that the immediate and proximate cause of the injury remained the truck drivers lack of due care.[46] In this case, both the trial and the appellate courts failed to consider that respondent Pedrano was also negligent in leaving the truck parked askew without any warning lights or reflector devices to alert oncoming vehicles, and that such failure created the presumption of negligence on the part of his employer, respondent Condor, in supervising his employees properly and adequately. As we ruled in Poblete v. Fabros:[47] It is such a firmly established principle, as to have virtually formed part of the law itself, that the negligence of the employee gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer. This is the presumed negligence in the selection and supervision of employee. The theory of presumed negligence, in contrast with the American doctrine of respondeat superior, where the negligence of the employee is conclusively presumed to be the negligence of the employer, is clearly deducible from the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code which provides that the responsibility therein mentioned shall cease if the employers prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damages.[48] The petitioners were correct in invoking respondent Pedranos failure to observe Article IV, Section 34(g) of the Rep. Act No. 4136, which provides: (g) Lights when parked or disabled. Appropriate parking lights or flares visible one hundred meters away shall be displayed at a corner of the vehicle whenever such vehicle is parked on highways or in places that are not well-lighted or is placed in such manner as to endanger passing traffic. The manner in which the truck was parked clearly endangered oncoming traffic on both sides, considering that the tire blowout which stalled the truck in the first place occurred in the wee hours of the morning. The Court can only now surmise that the unfortunate incident could have been averted had respondent Condor, the owner of the truck, equipped the said vehicle with lights, flares, or, at the very least, an early warning device.[49] Hence, we cannot subscribe to respondents Condor and Pedranos claim that they should be absolved from liability because, as found by the trial and appellate courts, the proximate cause of the collision was the fast speed at which petitioner Laspias drove the bus. To accept this proposition would be to come too close to wiping out the fundamental principle of law that a man must respond for the foreseeable consequences of his own negligent act or omission. Indeed, our law on quasi-delicts seeks to reduce the risks and burdens of living in society and to allocate them among its members. To accept this proposition would be to weaken the very bonds of society.[50] The Liability of Respondent PPSII as Insurer

The trial court in this case did not rule on the liability of respondent PPSII, while the appellate court ruled that, as no evidence was presented against it, the insurance company is not liable. A perusal of the records will show that when the petitioners filed the Third-Party Complaint against respondent PPSII, they failed to attach a copy of the terms of the insurance contract itself. Only Certificate of Cover No. 054940[51] issued in favor of Mr. William Tiu, Lahug, Cebu City signed by Cosme H. Boniel was appended to the third-party complaint. The date of issuance, July 22, 1986, the period of insurance, from July 22, 1986 to July 22, 1987, as well as the following items, were also indicated therein: SCHEDULED VEHICLE MODEL MAKE Isuzu Forward TYPE OF BODY Bus COLOR blue mixed NO. AUTHORIZED CAPACITY 50 UNLADEN WEIGHT 6Cyls. Kgs. PREMIUMS PAID BLT FILE NO.

PLATE NO. PBP- SERIAL/CHASSIS NO. MOTOR 724 SER450-1584124 677836

SECTION 1/11 A. THIRD PARTY LIABILITY B. PASSENGER LIABILITY

*LIMITS OF LIABILITY P50,000.00

Per Person Per Accident P540.0052 P12,000.00 P50,000

In its Answer53 to the Third-Party Complaint, the respondent PPSII admitted the existence of the contract of insurance, in view of its failure to specifically deny the same as required under then Section 8(a), Rule 8 of the Rules of Court,54 which reads: Sec. 8. How to contest genuineness of such documents. When an action or defense is founded upon a written instrument copied in or attached to the corresponding pleading as provided in the preceding section, the genuineness and due execution of the instrument shall be deemed admitted unless the adverse party, under oath, specifically denies them, and sets forth what he claims to be the facts; but the requirement of an oath does not apply when the adverse party does not appear to be a party to the instrument or when compliance with an order for inspection of the original instrument is refused. In fact, respondent PPSII did not dispute the existence of such contract, and admitted that it was liable thereon. It claimed, however, that it had attended to and settled the claims of those injured during the incident, and set up the following as special affirmative defenses: Third party defendant Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. hereby reiterates and incorporates by way of reference the preceding paragraphs and further states THAT:8. It has attended to the claims of Vincent Canales, Asuncion Batiancila and Neptali Palces who sustained injuries during the incident in question. In fact, it settled financially their claims per vouchers duly signed

by them and they duly executed Affidavit[s] of Desistance to that effect, xerox copies of which are hereto attached as Annexes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively; 9. With respect to the claim of plaintiff, herein answering third party defendant through its authorized insurance adjuster attended to said claim. In fact, there were negotiations to that effect. Only that it cannot accede to the demand of said claimant considering that the claim was way beyond the scheduled indemnity as per contract entered into with third party plaintiff William Tiu and third party defendant (Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc.). Third party Plaintiff William Tiu knew all along the limitation as earlier stated, he being an old hand in the transportation business; 55 Considering the admissions made by respondent PPSII, the existence of the insurance contract and the salient terms thereof cannot be dispatched. It must be noted that after filing its answer, respondent PPSII no longer objected to the presentation of evidence by respondent Arriesgado and the insured petitioner Tiu. Even in its Memorandum56 before the Court, respondent PPSII admitted the existence of the contract, but averred as follows: Petitioner Tiu is insisting that PPSII is liable to him for contribution, indemnification and/or reimbursement. This has no basis under the contract. Under the contract, PPSII will pay all sums necessary to discharge liability of the insured subject to the limits of liability but not to exceed the limits of liability as so stated in the contract. Also, it is stated in the contract that in the event of accident involving indemnity to more than one person, the limits of liability shall not exceed the aggregate amount so specified by law to all persons to be indemnified.57 As can be gleaned from the Certificate of Cover, such insurance contract was issued pursuant to the Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Law. It was expressly provided therein that the limit of the insurers liability for each person was P12,000, while the limit per accident was pegged at P50,000. An insurer in an indemnity contract for third party liability is directly liable to the injured party up to the extent specified in the agreement but it cannot be held solidarily liable beyond that amount.58 The respondent PPSII could not then just deny petitioner Tius claim; it should have paid P12,000 for the death of Felisa Arriesgado,59 and respondent Arriesgados hospitalization expenses of P1,113.80, which the trial court found to have been duly supported by receipts. The total amount of the claims, even when added to that of the other injured passengers which the respondent PPSII claimed to have settled,60 would not exceed the P50,000 limit under the insurance agreement. Indeed, the nature of Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance is such that it is primarily intended to provide compensation for the death or bodily injuries suffered by innocent third parties or passengers as a result of the negligent operation and use of motor vehicles. The victims and/or their dependents are assured of immediate financial assistance, regardless of the financial capacity of motor vehicle owners.61 As the Court, speaking through Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, explained in Government Service Insurance System v. Court of Appeals:62 However, although the victim may proceed directly against the insurer for indemnity, the third party liability is only up to the extent of the insurance policy and those required by law. While it is true that where the insurance contract provides for indemnity against liability to third persons, and such persons can directly sue the insurer, the direct liability of the insurer under indemnity contracts against third party liability does not mean that the insurer can be held liable in solidum with the insured and/or the other parties found at fault. For the liability of the insurer is based on contract; that of the insured carrier or vehicle owner is based on tort.

Obviously, the insurer could be held liable only up to the extent of what was provided for by the contract of insurance, in accordance with the CMVLI law. At the time of the incident, the schedule of indemnities for death and bodily injuries, professional fees and other charges payable under a CMVLI coverage was provided for under the Insurance Memorandum Circular (IMC) No. 5-78 which was approved on November 10, 1978. As therein provided, the maximum indemnity for death was twelve thousand (P12,000.00) pesos per victim. The schedules for medical expenses were also provided by said IMC, specifically in paragraphs (C) to (G).63 Damages to be Awarded The trial court correctly awarded moral damages in the amount of P50,000 in favor of respondent Arriesgado. The award of exemplary damages by way of example or correction of the public good,64 is likewise in order. As the Court ratiocinated in Kapalaran Bus Line v. Coronado:65 While the immediate beneficiaries of the standard of extraordinary diligence are, of course, the passengers and owners of cargo carried by a common carrier, they are not the only persons that the law seeks to benefit. For if common carriers carefully observed the statutory standard of extraordinary diligence in respect of their own passengers, they cannot help but simultaneously benefit pedestrians and the passengers of other vehicles who are equally entitled to the safe and convenient use of our roads and highways. The law seeks to stop and prevent the slaughter and maiming of people (whether passengers or not) on our highways and buses, the very size and power of which seem to inflame the minds of their drivers. Article 2231 of the Civil Code explicitly authorizes the imposition of exemplary damages in cases of quasi-delicts if the defendant acted with gross negligence.66 The respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado, as the surviving spouse and heir of Felisa Arriesgado, is entitled to indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00.67 The petitioners, as well as the respondents Benjamin Condor and Sergio Pedrano are jointly and severally liable for said amount, conformably with the following pronouncement of the Court in Fabre, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals:68 The same rule of liability was applied in situations where the negligence of the driver of the bus on which plaintiff was riding concurred with the negligence of a third party who was the driver of another vehicle, thus causing an accident. InAnuran v. Buo, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, and Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the bus company, its driver, the operator of the other vehicle and the driver of the vehicle were jointly and severally held liable to the injured passenger or the latters heirs. The basis of this allocation of liability was explained in Viluan v. Court of Appeals, thus: Nor should it make difference that the liability of petitioner *bus owner+ springs from contract while that of respondents [owner and driver of other vehicle] arises from quasi-delict. As early as 1913, we already ruled in Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez, 56 Phil. 177, that in case of injury to a passenger due to the negligence of the driver of the bus on which he was riding and of the driver of another vehicle, the drivers as well as the owners of the two vehicles are jointly and severally liable for damages. Some members of the Court, though, are of the view that under the circumstances they are liable on quasidelict.69

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS: (1) Respondent Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. and petitioner William Tiu are ORDERED to pay, jointly and severally, respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado the total amount of P13,113.80; (2) The petitioners and the respondents Benjamin Condor and Sergio Pedrano are ORDERED to pay, jointly and severally, respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado P50,000.00 as indemnity; P26,441.50 as actual damages; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P20,000.00 as attorneys fees. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-44627 December 14, 1978 LUCIA S. PAJARITO, petitioner, vs. HON. ALBERTO V. SEERIS, Presiding Judge of Branch II, Court of First Instance of Zamboanga; JOSELITO AIZON, and FELIPE AIZON, respondents. Geronimo Pajarito for petitioner. Dominador L. Natividad for private respondents,

ANTONIO, J.: Original special civil action for certiorari. Private respondent Joselito Aizon was charged before the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City, Branch 11 (respondent Judge Alberto V. Seneris, presiding), with Double Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence or a violation of Section 48 of Republic Act No. 4136. The pertinent portion of the Information reads as follows:

That on or about May 9, 1975, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the driver of an Isuzu Passenger Bus bearing Plate No. SB-511 owned and operated by FELIPE AIZON, operating on the public road, and without taking the necessary precautions, considering the width, traffic, visibility, grades, crossing, curvatures, and other conditions of the road, so as to avoid accident to persons or damage to properties, did then and there, through reckless and fast driving, caused the said Isuzu Passenger Bus to turn turtle, as a result of which, the persons of MYRNA PAJARITO DE SAN LUIS and MUSA BARING, both passengers on board the said Isuzu passenger bus sustained injuries on their persons which caused their death. (Emphasis supplied.) Upon arraignment, said respondent entered a plea of guilty. In view of said plea, the court rendered judgment convicting him of the offense charged and sentencing him "to indemnify the heirs of the late Myrna Pajarito de San Luis the amount of P12,000.00 ... ." After the judgment had become final and executory, a Writ of Execution was issued against Joselito Aizon for the indemnity of P12,000.00, but the same was returned unsatisfied because of his insolvency. Whereupon, petitioner Lucia S. Pajarito, mother of the late Myrna Pajarito de San Luis, filed with the court a quo a motion for the issuance of Subsidiary Writ of Execution and served a copy thereof to private respondent Felipe Aizon, employer of Joselito Aizon as alleged in the Information. Felipe Aizon opposed the motion on the grounds, to wit: (1) that he is not the employer of Joselito Aizon, the vehicle in question having been sold already to Isaac Aizon, father of Joselito, but that the deed of transfer has not been executed because the full price has not yet been paid; and (2) that in case of insolvency, Joselito has to suffer subsidiary imprisonment to satisfy the judgment insofar as the indemnity is concerned. The court denied petitioner's motion for Subsidiary Writ of Execution on the ground that Felipe Aizon, alleged employer of Joselito, was not a party in the aforesaid criminal case. Said the court: It is therefore, the well considered opinion of this Court that a separate civil action must be filed by movant Lucia S. Pajarito against Felipe Aizon in order to enforce the subsidiary liability of the latter under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the foregoing ruling, but the same was denied. Hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that the enforcement of tile subsidiary liability under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be filled under the same criminal case, under which the subsidiary liability was granted; that respondent Felipe Aizon, alleged employer of Joselito Aizon, was given his day in court, as he was furnished a copy of the motion for issuance of the Subsidiary Writ of Execution, to which he filed his opposition; and that, although not made a party in the criminal case, the employer, Felipe Aizon, should have taken active participation in the defense of his employee, Joselito Aizon. On the other hand, respondents, in their Comment to the petition which We consider their Answer, maintain that to enforce the subsidiary liability under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, a separate civil action must be filed against the employer because under our present judicial

system, before one could be held subsidiary liable, he should be made a party defendant to the action, which in this case is not legally feasible because respondent Felipe Aizon was not accused together with Joselito Aizon in Criminal Case No. 512 (1313) for Double Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence. Obviously, the question to be considered here is whether the subsidiary civil liability established in Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be enforced in the same criminal case where the award was made, or in a separate civil action. Under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, a person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. As a consequence, the institution of the criminal action carries with it the institution of the civil action arising therefrom, except when there is a separate civil action or reservation of the latter on the part of the complainant. As explained in Ramcar, Incorporated v. De Leon: 1 "When no civil action is expressly instituted, according to subsection (a) of section 1 of Rule 107, it shall be impliedly jointly instituted with the criminal action.' That means as if two actions are joined in one as twins, each one complete with the same completeness as any of the two normal persons composing a twin. It means that the civil action may be tried and prosecuted, with all the ancillary processes provided by law." Pursuant to Article 103, in relation to Article 102, of the Revised Penal Code, an employer may be subsidiary liable for the employee's civil liability in a criminal action when: (1) the employer is engaged in any kind of industry; (2) the employee committed the offense in the discharge of his duties; and (3) he is insolvent and has not satisfied his civil liability. 2 The subsidiary civil liability of the employer, however, arises only after conviction of the employee in the criminal case. In Martinez v. Barredo, 3 this Court ruled that a judgment of conviction sentencing a defendant employee to pay an indemnity in the absence of any collusion between the defendant and the offended party, is conclusive upon the employer in an action for the enforcement of the latter's subsidiary liability. ... The stigma of a criminal conviction surpasses in effect and implications mere civil liability. Common sense dictates that a finding of guilt in a criminal case in which proof beyond reasonable doubt is necessary, should not be nullified in a subsequent civil action requiring only preponderance of evidence to support a judgment, unless those who support the contrary rule should also hold that an absolution in a civil case will operate to automatically set aside the verdict against the defendant in the criminal case. It is anomalous, to say the least, to suppose that the driver, excelling 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', could be guilty of reckless negligence in so far as his obligation to pay indemnity is concerned, and at the same time could be free from any blame when said indemnity is sought to be collected mom his employer, although the right to the indemnity arose from and was based on one and the same act of the driver. The employer cannot be said to have been deprived of his day in court, because the situation before us is not one wherein the employer is sued for a primary liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code, but one in which enforcement is sought of a subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent upon his driver's criminal negligence which is a proper issue to be tried and decided only in a criminal action. In other words, the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon his driver's conviction and upon proof of the latter's insolvency, in the same way that acquittal wipes out not only the employee's primary civil liability but also his employer's subsidiary liability for such criminal negligence. (Almelda et al. vs. Abaroa, 8 Phil., 178, affirmed in 218 U.S., 476, 54 Law ed., 1116; Wise & Co. vs. Larion, 45 Phil. 314, 320; Francisco us. Onrubia, 46 Phil.,

327; Province of Ilocos Sur us. Tolentino, G.R. No. 34186, 56 Phil. 829; Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. II, p. 403) It is high time that the employer exercised the greatest care in selecting his employees, taking real and deep interest in their welfare; intervening in any criminal action brought against them by reason of or as a result of the performance of their duties, if only in the way of giving them the benefit of counsel; and consequently doing away with the practice of leaving them to their fates. If these be done, the American rule requiring notice on the part of the employer shall have been satisfied. (At pp. 3-4) In Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc., 4 this Court further amplified the rule that the decision convicting the employee is binding and conclusive upon the employer, "not only with regard to (the latter's) civil liability but also with regard to its amount because the liability of an employer cannot be separated but follows that of his employee. That is why the law says that his liability is subsidiary (Article 103, Revised Penal Code). To allow an employer to dispute the civil liability fixed in the criminal case would be to amend, nullify, or defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent court." And this Court, in Miranda, further explained that the employer is in substance and in effect a party to the criminal case, considering the subsidiary liability imposed upon him by law. It is true that an employer, strictly speaking, is not a party to the criminal case instituted against his employee, but in substance and in effect he is considering the subsidiary liability imposed upon him by law. It is his concern, as well as of his employee, to see to it that his interest be protected in the criminal case by taking virtual participation in the defense of his employee. He cannot leave him to his own fate because his failure is also his. And if because of his indifference or inaction the employee is convicted and damages are awarded against him, he cannot later be heard to complain, if brought to court, for the enforcement of his subsidiary liability, that he was not given his day in court . (At p. 675. Emphasis supplied.) The conclusiveness upon the employer of the judgment of conviction sentencing the employee to pay civil indemnity, for the enforcement of the employer's subsidiary civil liability under Article 103 was again reiterated inManalo and Salvador v. Robles Transportation Company, Inc., 5 where the Court ruled that the sheriff's return submitted in evidence in the action against the employer, Robles Transportation Company, Inc., showing that the two writs of execution were not satisfied because of the insolvency of the driver, is a prima facie evidence of the employee's insolvency. Similarly, this Court ruled that the defendant's insolvency may be proven by the certificate of the Director of Prisons that the employee is serving subsidiary imprisonment; 6 or by the certificate of the sheriff that the employee has not satisfied his pecuniary liability and that no properties have been found registered in his name. 7 Considering that the judgment of conviction, sentencing a defendant employee to pay an indemnity under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code, is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the latter's civil liability but also with regard to its amount, this Court stated in Rotea, 8 that in the action to enforce the employer's subsidiary liability, the court has no other function than to render decision based upon the indemnity awarded in the criminal case and has no power to amend or modify it even if in its opinion an error has been committed in the decision. In view of the foregoing principles, and considering that Felipe Aizon does not deny that he was the registered operator of the bus but only claims now that he sold the bus to the father of the accused, it

would serve no important purpose to require petitioner to file a separate and independent action against the employer for the enforcement of the latter's subsidiary civil liability. Under the circumstances, it would not only prolong the litigation but would require the heirs of the deceased victim to incur unnecessary expenses. At any rate, the proceeding for the enforcement of the subsidiary civil liability may be considered as part of the proceeding for the execution of the judgment. A case in which an execution has been issued is regarded as still pending so that all proceedings on the execution are proceedings in the suit. 9 There is no question that the court which rendered the judgment has a general supervisory control over its process of execution, and this power carries with it the right to determine every question of fact and law which may be involved in the execution. The validity of the claim of Felipe Aizon that he is no longer the owner and operator of the in fated bus as he sold it already to Isaac Aizon, father of the accused Joselito Aizon, is a matter that could be litigated and resolved in the same criminal case. In support of his opposition to the motion of the complainant, served upon him, for the purpose of the enforcement of his subsidiary liability Felipe Aizon may adduce all the evidence necessary for that purpose. Indeed, the enforcement of the employer's subsidiary civil liability may be conveniently litigated within the same proceeding because the execution of the judgment is a logical and integral part of the case itself. This would certainly facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. "The purpose of procedure", observed this Court in Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney General, 10 "is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice." In proceedings to apply justice, it is the duty of the courts "to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination" of their rival claims. Thus, the Rules require that they should be liberally construed "to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." 11 WHEREFORE, the Orders of respondent Court in Criminal Case No. 512 (1313) dated July 27, 1976 and August 14, 1976 are hereby set aside. The Court a quo is directed to hear and decide in the same proceeding the subsidiary liability of the alleged owner and operator of the passenger bus. Costs against private respondents. Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring: I concur, but to make matters clearer, I must add that the only issues open at the hearing to be held by the court a quo are: (1) whether or not Felipe Aizon was the owner of the vehicle driven by the

convicted accused, Joselito Aizon, or, whether or not he was the employer of said accused at the time of the commission of the offense on May 9, 1975, and (2) whether or not said Joselito Aizon is insolvent. As stated in the main opinion, the judgment in the criminal case is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to his civil liability but also with regard to its amount which is that found in the judgment of conviction. In other words, what is to be decided by the trial court is not strictly speaking the subsidiary liability of the employer, Felipe Aizon, for the judgment in the criminal case is deemed to include that liability, but only the two issues related to it that I have mentioned.

Separate Opinions BARREDO, J., concurring: I concur, but to make matters clearer, I must add that the only issues open at the hearing to be held by the court a quo are: (1) whether or not Felipe Aizon was the owner of the vehicle driven by the convicted accused, Joselito Aizon, or, whether or not he was the employer of said accused at the time of the commission of the offense on May 9, 1975, and (2) whether or not said Joselito Aizon is insolvent. As stated in the main opinion, the judgment in the criminal case is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to his civil liability but also with regard to its amount which is that found in the judgment of conviction. In other words, what is to be decided by the trial court is not strictly speaking the subsidiary liability of the employer, Felipe Aizon, for the judgment in the criminal case is deemed to include that liability, but only the two issues related to it that I have mentioned.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 145804. February 6, 2003]

LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT AUTHORITY & RODOLFO ROMAN, petitioners, vs. MARJORIE NAVIDAD, Heirs of the Late NICANOR NAVIDAD & PRUDENT SECURITY AGENCY, respondents. DECISION VITUG, J.: The case before the Court is an appeal from the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on 27 April 2000 and 10 October 2000, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 60720, entitled Marjorie Navidad and Heirs of the Late Nicanor Navidad vs. Rodolfo Roman, et. al., which has modified the decision of 11 August 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 266, Pasig City, exonerating Prudent

Security Agency (Prudent) from liability and finding Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and Rodolfo Roman liable for damages on account of the death of Nicanor Navidad. On 14 October 1993, about half an hour past seven oclock in the evening, Nicanor Navidad, then drunk, entered the EDSA LRT station after purchasing a token (representing payment of the fare). While Navidad was standing on the platform near the LRT tracks, Junelito Escartin, the security guard assigned to the area approached Navidad. A misunderstanding or an altercation between the two apparently ensued that led to a fist fight. No evidence, however, was adduced to indicate how the fight started or who, between the two, delivered the first blow or how Navidad later fell on the LRT tracks. At the exact moment that Navidad fell, an LRT train, operated by petitioner Rodolfo Roman, was coming in. Navidad was struck by the moving train, and he was killed instantaneously. On 08 December 1994, the widow of Nicanor, herein respondent Marjorie Navidad, along with her children, filed a complaint for damages against Junelito Escartin, Rodolfo Roman, the LRTA, the Metro Transit Organization, Inc. (Metro Transit), and Prudent for the death of her husband. LRTA and Roman filed a counterclaim against Navidad and a cross-claim against Escartin and Prudent. Prudent, in its answer, denied liability and averred that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its security guards. The LRTA and Roman presented their evidence while Prudent and Escartin, instead of presenting evidence, filed a demurrer contending that Navidad had failed to prove that Escartin was negligent in his assigned task. On 11 August 1998, the trial court rendered its decision; it adjudged: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants Prudent Security and Junelito Escartin ordering the latter to pay jointly and severally the plaintiffs the following: a) 1) Actual damages of P44,830.00; 2) 3) b) c) d) Compensatory damages of P443,520.00; Indemnity for the death of Nicanor Navidad in the sum of P50,000.00;

Moral damages of P50,000.00; Attorneys fees of P20,000; Costs of suit.

The complaint against defendants LRTA and Rodolfo Roman are dismissed for lack of merit. The compulsory counterclaim of LRTA and Roman are likewise dismissed.[1] Prudent appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 27 August 2000, the appellate court promulgated its now assailed decision exonerating Prudent from any liability for the death of Nicanor Navidad and, instead, holding the LRTA and Roman jointly and severally liable thusly: WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is hereby MODIFIED, by exonerating the appellants from any liability for the death of Nicanor Navidad, Jr. Instead, appellees Rodolfo Roman and the Light Rail Transit

Authority (LRTA) are held liable for his death and are hereby directed to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiffs-appellees, the following amounts: a) b) c) d) e) P44,830.00 as actual damages; P50,000.00 as nominal damages; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of the deceased; and P20,000.00 as and for attorneys fees.[2]

The appellate court ratiocinated that while the deceased might not have then as yet boarded the train, a contract of carriage theretofore had already existed when the victim entered the place where passengers were supposed to be after paying the fare and getting the corresponding token therefor. In exempting Prudent from liability, the court stressed that there was nothing to link the security agency to the death of Navidad. It said that Navidad failed to show that Escartin inflicted fist blows upon the victim and the evidence merely established the fact of death of Navidad by reason of his having been hit by the train owned and managed by the LRTA and operated at the time by Roman. The appellate court faulted petitioners for their failure to present expert evidence to establish the fact that the application of emergency brakes could not have stopped the train. The appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in its resolution of 10 October 2000. In their present recourse, petitioners recite alleged errors on the part of the appellate court; viz: I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED BY DISREGARDING THE FINDINGS OF FACTS BY THE TRIAL COURT II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF NICANOR NAVIDAD, JR. III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT RODOLFO ROMAN IS AN EMPLOYEE OF LRTA.[3] Petitioners would contend that the appellate court ignored the evidence and the factual findings of the trial court by holding them liable on the basis of a sweeping conclusion that the presumption of negligence on the part of a common carrier was not overcome. Petitioners would insist that Escartins assault upon Navidad, which caused the latter to fall on the tracks, was an act of a stranger that could not have been foreseen or prevented. The LRTA would add that the appellate courts conclusion on the

existence of an employer-employee relationship between Roman and LRTA lacked basis because Roman himself had testified being an employee of Metro Transit and not of the LRTA. Respondents, supporting the decision of the appellate court, contended that a contract of carriage was deemed created from the moment Navidad paid the fare at the LRT station and entered the premises of the latter, entitling Navidad to all the rights and protection under a contractual relation, and that the appellate court had correctly held LRTA and Roman liable for the death of Navidad in failing to exercise extraordinary diligence imposed upon a common carrier. Law and jurisprudence dictate that a common carrier, both from the nature of its business and for reasons of public policy, is burdened with the duty of exercising utmost diligence in ensuring the safety of passengers.[4] The Civil Code, governing the liability of a common carrier for death of or injury to its passengers, provides: Article 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. Article 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755. Article 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the negligence or willful acts of the formers employees, although such employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the orders of the common carriers. This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees. Article 1763. A common carrier is responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carriers employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have prevented or stopped the act or omission. The law requires common carriers to carry passengers safely using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons with due regard for all circumstances.[5] Such duty of a common carrier to provide safety to its passengers so obligates it not only during the course of the trip but for so long as the passengers are within its premises and where they ought to be in pursuance to the contract of carriage.[6] The statutory provisions render a common carrier liable for death of or injury to passengers (a) through the negligence or wilful acts of its employees or b) on account of wilful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers if the common carriers employees through the exercise of due diligence could have prevented or stopped the act or omission.[7] In case of such death or injury, a carrier is presumed to have been at fault or been negligent, and[8] by simple proof of injury, the passenger is relieved of the duty to still establish the fault or negligence of the carrier or of its employees and the burden shifts upon the carrier to prove that the injury is due to an unforeseen event or to force majeure.[9] In the absence of satisfactory explanation by the carrier on how the accident occurred, which petitioners, according to the appellate court, have failed to show, the presumption

would be that it has been at fault,[10] an exception from the general rule that negligence must be proved.[11] The foundation of LRTAs liability is the contract of carriage and its obligation to indemnify the victim arises from the breach of that contract by reason of its failure to exercise the high diligence required of the common carrier. In the discharge of its commitment to ensure the safety of passengers, a carrier may choose to hire its own employees or avail itself of the services of an outsider or an independent firm to undertake the task. In either case, the common carrier is not relieved of its responsibilities under the contract of carriage. Should Prudent be made likewise liable? If at all, that liability could only be for tort under the provisions of Article 2176[12] and related provisions, in conjunction with Article 2180,[13] of the Civil Code. The premise, however, for the employers liability is negligence or fault on the part of the employee. Once such fault is established, the employer can then be made liable on the basis of the presumption juris tantumthat the employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families in the selection and supervision of its employees. The liability is primary and can only be negated by showing due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee, a factual matter that has not been shown. Absent such a showing, one might ask further, how then must the liability of the common carrier, on the one hand, and an independent contractor, on the other hand, be described? It would be solidary. A contractual obligation can be breached by tort and when the same act or omission causes the injury, one resulting in culpa contractual and the other in culpa aquiliana, Article 2194[14] of the Civil Code can well apply.[15] In fine, a liability for tort may arise even under a contract, where tort is that which breaches the contract.[16] Stated differently, when an act which constitutes a breach of contract would have itself constituted the source of a quasi-delictual liability had no contract existed between the parties, the contract can be said to have been breached by tort, thereby allowing the rules on tort to apply.[17] Regrettably for LRT, as well as perhaps the surviving spouse and heirs of the late Nicanor Navidad, this Court is concluded by the factual finding of the Court of Appeals that there is nothing to link (Prudent) to the death of Nicanor (Navidad), for the reason that the negligence of its employee, Escartin, has not been duly proven x x x. This finding of the appellate court is not without substantial justification in our own review of the records of the case. There being, similarly, no showing that petitioner Rodolfo Roman himself is guilty of any culpable act or omission, he must also be absolved from liability. Needless to say, the contractual tie between the LRT and Navidad is not itself a juridical relation between the latter and Roman; thus, Roman can be made liable only for his own fault or negligence. The award of nominal damages in addition to actual damages is untenable. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him.[18] It is an established rule that nominal damages cannot co-exist with compensatory damages.[19] WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the appellate court is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION but only in that (a) the award of nominal damages is DELETED and (b) petitioner Rodolfo Roman is absolved from liability. No costs. SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 120553. June 17, 1997]

PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC. and ROGACIONES MANILHIG, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and HEIRS OF THE LATE RAMON ACUESTA,respondents. DECISION DAVIDE, JR., J.: The petitioners interposed this appeal by way of a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the 31 January 1995 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 41140[1] affirming the 22 January 1993[2] Decision of Branch 31 of the Regional Trial Court, Calbayog City, in Civil Case No. 373, which ordered the petitioners to pay the private respondents damages as a result of a vehicular accident. Civil Case No. 373 was an action against herein petitioners for damages instituted by the heirs of Ramon A. Acuesta, namely, Gregorio O. Acuesta; Julio O. Acuesta; Ramon O. Acuesta, Jr.; Baltazar O. Acuesta; Rufino O. Acuesta; Maximo O. Acuesta; Neri O. Acuesta; Iluminada O. Acuesta; Rosario Acuesta-Sanz; and Pamfilo O. Acuesta. Atty. Julio O. Acuesta also appeared as counsel for the plaintiffs (herein private respondents).[3] The private respondents alleged that the petitioners were guilty of gross negligence, recklessness, violation of traffic rules and regulations, abandonment of victim, and attempt to escape from a crime. To support their allegations, the private respondents presented eight witnesses. On 10 February 1992, after the cross-examination of the last witness, the private respondents counsel made a reservation to present a ninth witness. The case was then set for continuation of the trial on 30 and 31 March 1992. Because of the non-appearance of the petitioners counsel, the 30 March 1992 hearing was cancelled. The next day, private respondents counsel manifested that he would no longer present the ninth witness. He thereafter made an oral offer of evidence and rested the case. The trial court summarized private respondents evidence in this wise: [I]n the early morning of March 24, 1990, about 6:00 o'clock, the victim Ramon A. Acuesta was riding in his easy rider bicycle (Exhibit O), along the Gomez Street of Calbayog City. The Gomez Street is along the side of Nijaga Park. On the Magsaysay Blvd., also in Calbayog City, defendant Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. (Philtranco for brevity) Bus No. 4025 with plate No. EVA-725 driven by defendant Rogasiones Manilhig y Dolira was being pushed by some persons in order to start its engine. The Magsaysay Blvd. runs perpendicular to Gomez St. and the said Philtranco bus 4025 was heading in the general direction of the said Gomez Street. Some of the persons who were pushing the bus were on its back, while the others were on the sides. As the bus was pushed, its engine started thereby the bus continued on its running motion and it occurred at the time when Ramon A. Acuesta who was still riding on his bicycle was directly in front of the said bus. As the engine of the Philtranco bus started abruptly and suddenly, its running motion was also enhanced by the said functioning engine, thereby the subject

bus bumped on the victim Ramon A. Acuesta who, as a result thereof fell and, thereafter, was run over by the said bus. The bus did not stop although it had already bumped and ran [sic] over the victim; instead, it proceeded running towards the direction of the Rosales Bridge which is located at one side of the Nijaga Park and towards one end of the Gomez St., to which direction the victim was then heading when he was riding on his bicycle. P/Sgt. Yabao who was then jogging thru the Gomez Street and was heading and meeting the victim Ramon A. Acuesta as the latter was riding on his bicycle, saw when the Philtranco bus was being pushed by some passengers, when its engine abruptly started and when the said bus bumped and ran over the victim. He approached the bus driver defendant Manilhig herein and signalled to him to stop, but the latter did not listen. So the police officer jumped into the bus and introducing himself to the driver defendant as policeman, ordered the latter to stop. The said defendant driver stopped the Philtranco bus near the Nijaga Park and Sgt. Yabao thereafter, told the driver to proceed to the Police Headquarter which was only 100 meters away from Nijaga Park because he was apprehensive that the said driver might be harmed by the relatives of the victim who might come to the scene of the accident. Then Sgt. Yabao cordoned the scene where the vehicular accident occurred and had P/Cpl. Bartolome Bagot, the Traffic Investigator, conduct an investigation and make a sketch of the crime scene. Sgt. Yambao Yabao was only about 20 meters away when he saw the bus of defendant Philtranco bumped [sic] and [sic] ran over the victim. From the place where the victim was actually bumped by the bus, the said vehicle still had run to a distance of about 15 meters away.[4] For their part, the petitioners filed an Answer[5] wherein they alleged that petitioner Philtranco exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees, including petitioner Manilhig who had excellent record as a driver and had undergone months of rigid training before he was hired. Petitioner Manilhig had always been a prudent professional driver, religiously observing traffic rules and regulations. In driving Philtranco's buses, he exercised the diligence of a very cautious person. As might be expected, the petitioners had a different version of the incident. They alleged that in the morning of 24 March 1990, Manilhig, in preparation for his trip back to Pasay City, warmed up the engine of the bus and made a few rounds within the city proper of Calbayog. While the bus was slowly and moderately cruising along Gomez Street, the victim, who was biking towards the same direction as the bus, suddenly overtook two tricycles and swerved left to the center of the road. The swerving was abrupt and so sudden that even as Manilhig applied the brakes and blew the bus horn, the victim was bumped from behind and run over by the bus. It was neither willful nor deliberate on Manilhig's part to proceed with the trip after his bus bumped the victim, the truth being that when he looked at his rearview window, he saw people crowding around the victim, with others running after his bus. Fearing that he might be mobbed, he moved away from the scene of the accident and intended to report the incident to the police. After a man boarded his bus and introduced himself as a policeman, Manilhig gave himself up to the custody of the police and reported the accident in question. The petitioners further claimed that it was the negligence of the victim in overtaking two tricycles, without taking precautions such as seeing first that the road was clear, which caused the death of the victim. The latter did not even give any signal of his intention to overtake. The petitioners then counterclaimed for P50,000 as and for attorney's fees; P1 million as moral damages; and P50,000 for litigation expenses. However, the petitioners were not able to present their evidence, as they were deemed to have waived that right by the failure of their counsel to appear at the scheduled hearings on 30 and 31 March 1992. The trial court then issued an Order[6] declaring the case submitted for decision. Motions for the reconsideration of the said Order were both denied.

On 22 January 1992, the trial court handed down a decision ordering the petitioners to jointly and severally pay the private respondents the following amounts: 1) P55, 615.72 as actual damages; 2) P200,000 as death indemnity for the death of the victim Ramon A. Acuesta; 3) P1 million as moral damages; 4) P500,000 by way of exemplary damages; 5) P50,000 as attorneys fees; and 6) the costs of suit.[7] Unsatisfied with the judgment, the petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals imputing upon the trial court the following errors: (1) in preventing or barring them from presenting their evidence; (2) in finding that petitioner Manilhig was at fault; (3) in not finding that Ramon was the one at fault and his own fault caused, or at least contributed to, his unfortunate accident; (4) in awarding damages to the private respondents; and (5) in finding that petitioner Philtranco was solidarily liable with Manilhig for damages.[8] In its decision of 31 January 1995, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. It held that the petitioners were not denied due process, as they were given an opportunity to present their defense. The records show that they were notified of the assignment of the case for 30 and 31 March 1992. Yet, their counsel did not appear on the said dates. Neither did he file a motion for postponement of the hearings, nor did he appeal from the denial of the motions for reconsideration of the 31 March 1992 Order of the trial court. The petitioners have thereby waived their right to present evidence. Their expectation that they would have to object yet to a formal offer of evidence by the private respondents was misplaced, for it was within the sound discretion of the court to allow oral offer of evidence. As to the second and third assigned errors, the respondent court disposed as follows: ... We cannot help but accord with the lower court's finding on appellant Manilhig's fault. First, it is not disputed that the bus driven by appellant Manilhig was being pushed at the time of the unfortunate happening. It is of common knowledge and experience that when a vehicle is pushed to a jump-start, its initial movement is far from slow. Rather, its movement is abrupt and jerky and it takes a while before the vehicle attains normal speed. The lower court had thus enough basis to conclude, as it did, that the bumping of the victim was due to appellant Manilhig's actionable negligence and inattention. Prudence should have dictated against jump-starting the bus in a busy section of the city. Militating further against appellants' posture was the fact that the precarious pushing of subject bus to a jumpstart was done where the bus had to take a left turn, thereby making the move too risky to take. The possibility that pedestrians on Gomez Street, where the bus turned left and the victim was biking, would be unaware of a vehicle being pushed to a jumpstart, was too obvious to be overlooked. Verily, contrary to their bare arguments, there was gross negligence on the part of appellants.

The doctrine of last clear chance theorized upon by appellants, is inapplicable under the premises because the victim, who was bumped from behind, obviously, did not of course anticipate a Philtranco bus being pushed from a perpendicular street. The respondent court sustained the awards of moral and exemplary damages and of attorneys fees, for they are warranted under Articles 2206, 2231, and 2208(1), respectively, of the Civil Code. Anent the solidary liability of petitioner Philtranco, the same finds support in Articles 2180 and 2194 of the said Code. The defense that Philtranco exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees crumbles in the face of the gross negligence of its driver, which caused the untimely death of the victim. Their motion for reconsideration having been denied, the petitioners came to us claiming that the Court of Appeals gravely erred I ...IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS WAIVED THEIR RIGHT TO PRESENT THEIR EVIDENCE, AND THAT PETITIONERS WERE NOT DENIED DUE PROCESS. II ...IN APPLYING ART. 2194, INSTEAD OF ART. 2180, OF THE CIVIL CODE, AND IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER PHILTRANCO CAN NOT INVOKE THE DEFENSE OF DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY. III ...IN AWARDING DAMAGES TO RESPONDENTS AND/OR IN NOT FINDING THE TRIAL COURT'S AWARD OF DAMAGES EXCESSIVE. We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective memoranda after due consideration of the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the petition, the comment thereon by the private respondents, and the reply to the comment filed by the petitioners. The petitioners filed their memorandum in due time; while the private respondents filed theirs only on 3 January 1997, after their counsel was fined in the amount of P1,000 for failure to submit the required memorandum. The first imputed error is without merit. The petitioners and their counsel, Atty. Jose Buban, were duly notified in open court of the order of the trial court of 10 February 1992 setting the case for hearing on 30 and 31 March 1992.[9] On both dates neither the petitioners nor their counsel appeared. In his motion for reconsideration,[10] Atty. Buban gave the following reasons for his failure to appear on the said hearings: 1. That when this case was called on March 27, 1992, counsel was very much indisposed due to the rigors of a very hectic campaign as he is a candidate for City Councilor of Tacloban; he wanted to leave for Calbayog City, but he was seized with slight fever on the morning of said date; but then, during the last hearing, counsel was made to understand that plaintiffs would formally offer their exhibits in writing, for which reason, counsel for defendants waited for a copy of said formal offer, but counsel did not receive any copy as counsel for plaintiffs opted to formally offer their exhibits orally in open court;

2. That counsel for defendants, in good faith believed that he would be given reasonable time within which to comment on the formal offer in writing, only to know that counsel for plaintiffs orally offered their exhibits in open court and that the same were admitted by the Honorable Court; and that when this case was called on March 30 and 31, 1992, the undersigned counsel honestly believed that said schedule would be cancelled, pending on the submission of the comments made by the defendants on the formal offer; but it was not so, as the exhibits were admitted in open court.[11] In its order of 26 May 1992, the trial court denied the motion, finding it to be "devoid of meritorious basis," as Atty. Buban could have filed a motion for postponement.[12] Atty. Buban then filed a motion to reconsider[13] the order of denial, which was likewise denied by the trial court in its order of 12 August 1992.[14] Nothing more was done by the petitioners after receipt of the order of 12 August 1992. A perusal of the first and second motions for reconsideration discloses absence of any claim that the petitioners have meritorious defenses. Clearly, therefore, the trial court committed no error in declaring the case submitted for decision on the basis of private respondent's evidence. The second imputed error is without merit either. Civil Case No. 373 is an action for damages based on quasi-delict[15] under Article 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code against petitioner Manilhig and his employer, petitioner Philtranco, respectively. These articles pertinently provide: 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 aquasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. ... The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions. Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. ... The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. We have consistently held that the liability of the registered owner of a public service vehicle, like petitioner Philtranco,[16] for damages arising from the tortious acts of the driver is primary, direct, and joint and several or solidary with the driver.[17] As to solidarity, Article 2194 expressly provides: ART. 2194. The responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is solidary.

Since the employer's liability is primary, direct and solidary, its only recourse if the judgment for damages is satisfied by it is to recover what it has paid from its employee who committed the fault or negligence which gave rise to the action based on quasi-delict. Article 2181 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 2181. Whoever pays for the damage caused by his dependents or employees may recover from the latter what he has paid or delivered in satisfaction of the claim. There is, however, merit in the third imputed error. The trial court erroneously fixed the "death indemnity" at P200,000. The private respondents defended the award in their Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration by saying that "[i]n the case of Philippine Airlines, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 185 SCRA 110, our Supreme Court held that the award of damages for death is computed on the basis of the life expectancy of the deceased." In that case, the "death indemnity" was computed by multiplying the victim's gross annual income by his life expectancy, less his yearly living expenses. Clearly then, the "death indemnity" referred to was the additional indemnity for the loss of earning capacity mentioned in Article 2206(1) of the Civil Code, and not the basic indemnity for death mentioned in the first paragraph thereof. This article provides as follows: ART. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In addition: (1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death; (2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions of article 291, the recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent's inheritance by the law of testate or intestate succession, may demand support from the person causing the death, for a period of not exceeding five years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court; (3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. We concur with petitioners view that the trial court intended the award of "P200,000.00 as death indemnity" not as compensation for loss of earning capacity. Even if the trial court intended the award as indemnity for loss of earning capacity, the same must be struck out for lack of basis. There is no evidence on the victim's earning capacity and life expectancy. Only indemnity for death under the opening paragraph of Article 2206 is due, the amount of which has been fixed by current jurisprudence at P50,000.[18] The award of P1 million for moral damages to the heirs of Ramon Acuesta has no sufficient basis and is excessive and unreasonable. This was based solely on the testimony of one of the heirs, Atty. Julio Acuesta, contained in his "Direct Testimony... As Plaintiff, conducted by Himself,"[19] to wit: Q. What was your feeling or reaction as a result of the death of your father Ramon A. Acuesta?

A. We, the family members, have suffered much from wounded feelings, moral shock, mental anguish, sleepless nights, to which we are entitled to moral damages at the reasonable amount of ONE MILLION (P1,000,000.00) PESOS or at the sound discretion of this Hon. Court." Since the other heirs of the deceased did not take the witness stand, the trial court had no basis for its award of moral damages to those who did not testify thereon. Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a plaintiff at the expense of the defendant. They are awarded only to allow the former to obtain means, diversion, or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone due to the defendant's culpable action and must, perforce, be proportional to the suffering inflicted.[20] In light of the circumstances in this case, an award of P50,000 for moral damages is in order. The award of P500,000 for exemplary damages is also excessive. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be awarded if the party at fault acted with gross negligence.[21] The Court of Appeals found that there was gross negligence on the part of petitioner Manilhig.[22] Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated, or compensatory damages. Considering its purpose, it must be fair and reasonable in every case and should not be awarded to unjustly enrich a prevailing party. In the instant case, an award of P50,000 for the purpose would be adequate, fair, and reasonable. Finally, the award of P50,000 for attorney's fees must be reduced. The general rule is that attorney's fees cannot be recovered as part of damages because of the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate.[23] Stated otherwise, the grant of attorney's fees as part of damages is the exception rather than the rule, as counsel's fees are not awarded every time a party prevails in a suit.[24] Such attorney's fees can be awarded in the cases enumerated in Article 2208 of the Civil Code, and in all cases it must be reasonable. In the instant case, the counsel for the plaintiffs is himself a coplaintiff; it is then unlikely that he demanded from his brothers and sisters P100,000 as attorney's fees as alleged in the complaint and testified to by him.[25] He did not present any written contract for his fees. He is, however, entitled to a reasonable amount for attorney's fees, considering that exemplary damages are awarded. Among the instances mentioned in Article 2208 of the Civil Code when attorney's fees may be recovered is "(1) when exemplary damages are awarded." Under the circumstances in this case, an award of P25,000 for attorney's fees is reasonable. The petitioners did not contest the award for actual damages fixed by the trial court. Hence, such award shall stand. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby partly granted and the challenged decision of CA-G.R. CV No. 41140 is AFFIRMED, subject to modifications as to the damages awarded, which are reduced as follows: (a) Death indemnity, from P200,000 to P50,000; (b) Moral damages, from P1 million to P50,000; (c) Exemplary damages, from P500,000 to P50,000; and (d) Attorney's fees, from P50,000 to P25,000.

No pronouncements as to costs in this instance. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 95582 October 7, 1991 DANGWA TRANSPORTATION CO., INC. and THEODORE LARDIZABAL y MALECDAN, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, INOCENCIA CUDIAMAT, EMILIA CUDIAMAT BANDOY, FERNANDO CUDLAMAT, MARRIETA CUDIAMAT, NORMA CUDIAMAT, DANTE CUDIAMAT, SAMUEL CUDIAMAT and LIGAYA CUDIAMAT, all Heirs of the late Pedrito Cudiamat represented by Inocencia Cudiamat, respondents. Francisco S. Reyes Law Office for petitioners. Antonio C. de Guzman for private respondents.

REGALADO, J.:p On May 13, 1985, private respondents filed a complaint 1 for damages against petitioners for the death of Pedrito Cudiamat as a result of a vehicular accident which occurred on March 25, 1985 at Marivic, Sapid, Mankayan, Benguet. Among others, it was alleged that on said date, while petitioner Theodore M. Lardizabal was driving a passenger bus belonging to petitioner corporation in a reckless and imprudent manner and without due regard to traffic rules and regulations and safety to persons and property, it ran over its passenger, Pedrito Cudiamat. However, instead of bringing Pedrito immediately to the nearest hospital, the said driver, in utter bad faith and without regard to the welfare of the victim, first brought his other passengers and cargo to their respective destinations before banging said victim to the Lepanto Hospital where he expired. On the other hand, petitioners alleged that they had observed and continued to observe the extraordinary diligence required in the operation of the transportation company and the supervision of the employees, even as they add that they are not absolute insurers of the safety of the public at large. Further, it was alleged that it was the victim's own carelessness and negligence which gave rise to the subject incident, hence they prayed for the dismissal of the complaint plus an award of damages in their favor by way of a counterclaim.

On July 29, 1988, the trial court rendered a decision, effectively in favor of petitioners, with this decretal portion: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby pronounced that Pedrito Cudiamat was negligent, which negligence was the proximate cause of his death. Nonetheless, defendants in equity, are hereby ordered to pay the heirs of Pedrito Cudiamat the sum of P10,000.00 which approximates the amount defendants initially offered said heirs for the amicable settlement of the case. No costs. SO ORDERED. 2 Not satisfied therewith, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which, in a decision 3 in CA-G.R. CV No. 19504 promulgated on August 14, 1990, set aside the decision of the lower court, and ordered petitioners to pay private respondents: 1. The sum of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos by way of indemnity for death of the victim Pedrito Cudiamat; 2. The sum of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) by way of moral damages; 3. The sum of Two Hundred Eighty Eight Thousand (P288,000.00) Pesos as actual and compensatory damages; 4. The costs of this suit. 4 Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution dated October 4, 1990,5 hence this petition with the central issue herein being whether respondent court erred in reversing the decision of the trial court and in finding petitioners negligent and liable for the damages claimed. It is an established principle that the factual findings of the Court of Appeals as a rule are final and may not be reviewed by this Court on appeal. However, this is subject to settled exceptions, one of which is when the findings of the appellate court are contrary to those of the trial court, in which case a reexamination of the facts and evidence may be undertaken. 6 In the case at bar, the trial court and the Court of Appeal have discordant positions as to who between the petitioners an the victim is guilty of negligence. Perforce, we have had to conduct an evaluation of the evidence in this case for the prope calibration of their conflicting factual findings and legal conclusions. The lower court, in declaring that the victim was negligent, made the following findings: This Court is satisfied that Pedrito Cudiamat was negligent in trying to board a moving vehicle, especially with one of his hands holding an umbrella. And, without having given the driver or the conductor any indication that he wishes to board the bus. But defendants can also be found wanting of the necessary diligence. In this connection, it is safe to assume that when the deceased Cudiamat attempted to board defendants' bus,

the vehicle's door was open instead of being closed. This should be so, for it is hard to believe that one would even attempt to board a vehicle (i)n motion if the door of said vehicle is closed. Here lies the defendant's lack of diligence. Under such circumstances, equity demands that there must be something given to the heirs of the victim to assuage their feelings. This, also considering that initially, defendant common carrier had made overtures to amicably settle the case. It did offer a certain monetary consideration to the victim's heirs. 7 However, respondent court, in arriving at a different opinion, declares that: From the testimony of appellees'own witness in the person of Vitaliano Safarita, it is evident that the subject bus was at full stop when the victim Pedrito Cudiamat boarded the same as it was precisely on this instance where a certain Miss Abenoja alighted from the bus. Moreover, contrary to the assertion of the appellees, the victim did indicate his intention to board the bus as can be seen from the testimony of the said witness when he declared that Pedrito Cudiamat was no longer walking and made a sign to board the bus when the latter was still at a distance from him. It was at the instance when Pedrito Cudiamat was closing his umbrella at the platform of the bus when the latter made a sudden jerk movement (as) the driver commenced to accelerate the bus. Evidently, the incident took place due to the gross negligence of the appellee-driver in prematurely stepping on the accelerator and in not waiting for the passenger to first secure his seat especially so when we take into account that the platform of the bus was at the time slippery and wet because of a drizzle. The defendants-appellees utterly failed to observe their duty and obligation as common carrier to the end that they should observe extra-ordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them according to the circumstances of each case (Article 1733, New Civil Code). 8 After a careful review of the evidence on record, we find no reason to disturb the above holding of the Court of Appeals. Its aforesaid findings are supported by the testimony of petitioners' own witnesses. One of them, Virginia Abalos, testified on cross-examination as follows: Q It is not a fact Madam witness, that at bunkhouse 54, that is before the place of the incident, there is a crossing? A The way going to the mines but it is not being pass(ed) by the bus. Q And the incident happened before bunkhouse 56, is that not correct? A It happened between 54 and 53 bunkhouses. 9 The bus conductor, Martin Anglog, also declared: Q When you arrived at Lepanto on March 25, 1985, will you please inform this Honorable Court if there was anv unusual incident that occurred?

A When we delivered a baggage at Marivic because a person alighted there between Bunkhouse 53 and 54. Q What happened when you delivered this passenger at this particular place in Lepanto? A When we reached the place, a passenger alighted and I signalled my driver. When we stopped we went out because I saw an umbrella about a split second and I signalled again the driver, so the driver stopped and we went down and we saw Pedrito Cudiamat asking for help because he was lying down. Q How far away was this certain person, Pedrito Cudiamat, when you saw him lying down from the bus how far was he? A It is about two to three meters. Q On what direction of the bus was he found about three meters from the bus, was it at the front or at the back? A At the back, sir. 10 (Emphasis supplied.) The foregoing testimonies show that the place of the accident and the place where one of the passengers alighted were both between Bunkhouses 53 and 54, hence the finding of the Court of Appeals that the bus was at full stop when the victim boarded the same is correct. They further confirm the conclusion that the victim fell from the platform of the bus when it suddenly accelerated forward and was run over by the rear right tires of the vehicle, as shown by the physical evidence on where he was thereafter found in relation to the bus when it stopped. Under such circumstances, it cannot be said that the deceased was guilty of negligence. The contention of petitioners that the driver and the conductor had no knowledge that the victim would ride on the bus, since the latter had supposedly not manifested his intention to board the same, does not merit consideration. When the bus is not in motion there is no necessity for a person who wants to ride the same to signal his intention to board. A public utility bus, once it stops, is in effect making a continuous offer to bus riders. Hence, it becomes the duty of the driver and the conductor, every time the bus stops, to do no act that would have the effect of increasing the peril to a passenger while he was attempting to board the same. The premature acceleration of the bus in this case was a breach of such duty. 11 It is the duty of common carriers of passengers, including common carriers by railroad train, streetcar, or motorbus, to stop their conveyances a reasonable length of time in order to afford passengers an opportunity to board and enter, and they are liable for injuries suffered by boarding passengers resulting from the sudden starting up or jerking of their conveyances while they are doing so. 12 Further, even assuming that the bus was moving, the act of the victim in boarding the same cannot be considered negligent under the circumstances. As clearly explained in the testimony of the aforestated

witness for petitioners, Virginia Abalos, th bus had "just started" and "was still in slow motion" at the point where the victim had boarded and was on its platform. 13 It is not negligence per se, or as a matter of law, for one attempt to board a train or streetcar which is moving slowly. 14 An ordinarily prudent person would have made the attempt board the moving conveyance under the same or similar circumstances. The fact that passengers board and alight from slowly moving vehicle is a matter of common experience both the driver and conductor in this case could not have been unaware of such an ordinary practice. The victim herein, by stepping and standing on the platform of the bus, is already considered a passenger and is entitled all the rights and protection pertaining to such a contractual relation. Hence, it has been held that the duty which the carrier passengers owes to its patrons extends to persons boarding cars as well as to those alighting therefrom. 15 Common carriers, from the nature of their business and reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordina diligence for the safety of the passengers transported by the according to all the circumstances of each case. 16 A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. 17 It has also been repeatedly held that in an action based on a contract of carriage, the court need not make an express finding of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier in order to hold it responsible to pay the damages sought by the passenger. By contract of carriage, the carrier assumes the express obligation to transport the passenger to his destination safely and observe extraordinary diligence with a due regard for all the circumstances, and any injury that might be suffered by the passenger is right away attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier. This is an exception to the general rule that negligence must be proved, and it is therefore incumbent upon the carrier to prove that it has exercised extraordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code. 18 Moreover, the circumstances under which the driver and the conductor failed to bring the gravely injured victim immediately to the hospital for medical treatment is a patent and incontrovertible proof of their negligence. It defies understanding and can even be stigmatized as callous indifference. The evidence shows that after the accident the bus could have forthwith turned at Bunk 56 and thence to the hospital, but its driver instead opted to first proceed to Bunk 70 to allow a passenger to alight and to deliver a refrigerator, despite the serious condition of the victim. The vacuous reason given by petitioners that it was the wife of the deceased who caused the delay was tersely and correctly confuted by respondent court: ... The pretension of the appellees that the delay was due to the fact that they had to wait for about twenty minutes for Inocencia Cudiamat to get dressed deserves scant consideration. It is rather scandalous and deplorable for a wife whose husband is at the verge of dying to have the luxury of dressing herself up for about twenty minutes before attending to help her distressed and helpless husband. 19 Further, it cannot be said that the main intention of petitioner Lardizabal in going to Bunk 70 was to inform the victim's family of the mishap, since it was not said bus driver nor the conductor but the companion of the victim who informed his family thereof. 20 In fact, it was only after the refrigerator

was unloaded that one of the passengers thought of sending somebody to the house of the victim, as shown by the testimony of Virginia Abalos again, to wit: Q Why, what happened to your refrigerator at that particular time? A I asked them to bring it down because that is the nearest place to our house and when I went down and asked somebody to bring down the refrigerator, I also asked somebody to call the family of Mr. Cudiamat. COURT: Q Why did you ask somebody to call the family of Mr. Cudiamat? A Because Mr. Cudiamat met an accident, so I ask somebody to call for the family of Mr. Cudiamat. Q But nobody ask(ed) you to call for the family of Mr. Cudiamat? A No sir. 21 With respect to the award of damages, an oversight was, however, committed by respondent Court of Appeals in computing the actual damages based on the gross income of the victim. The rule is that the amount recoverable by the heirs of a victim of a tort is not the loss of the entire earnings, but rather the loss of that portion of the earnings which the beneficiary would have received. In other words, only net earnings, not gross earnings, are to be considered, that is, the total of the earnings less expenses necessary in the creation of such earnings or income and minus living and other incidental expenses. 22 We are of the opinion that the deductible living and other expense of the deceased may fairly and reasonably be fixed at P500.00 a month or P6,000.00 a year. In adjudicating the actual or compensatory damages, respondent court found that the deceased was 48 years old, in good health with a remaining productive life expectancy of 12 years, and then earning P24,000.00 a year. Using the gross annual income as the basis, and multiplying the same by 12 years, it accordingly awarded P288,000. Applying the aforestated rule on computation based on the net earnings, said award must be, as it hereby is, rectified and reduced to P216,000.00. However, in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, the death indemnity is hereby increased to P50,000.00. 23 WHEREFORE, subject to the above modifications, the challenged judgment and resolution of respondent Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-37750 May 19, 1978 SWEET LINES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. BERNARDO TEVES, Presiding Judge, CFI of Misamis Oriental Branch VII, LEOVIGILDO TANDOG, JR., and ROGELIO TIRO, respondents. Filiberto Leonardo, Abelardo C. Almario & Samuel B. Abadiano for petitioner. Leovigildo Vallar for private respondents.

SANTOS, J.: This is an original action for Prohibition with Pre Injunction filed October 3, 1973 to restrain respondent Judge from proceeding further with Civil Case No. 4091, entitled Leovigildo D. Tandog, Jr. and Rogelio Tiro v. Sweet Lines, Inc." after he denied petitioner's Motion to Dismiss the complaint, and the Motion for Reconsideration of said order. 1 Briefly, the facts of record follow. Private respondents Atty. Leovigildo Tandog and Rogelio Tiro, a contractor by professions, bought tickets Nos. 0011736 and 011737 for Voyage 90 on December 31, 1971 at the branch office of petitioner, a shipping company transporting inter-island passengers and cargoes, at Cagayan de Oro City. Respondents were to board petitioner's vessel, M/S "Sweet Hope" bound for Tagbilaran City via the port of Cebu. Upon learning that the vessel was not proceeding to Bohol, since many passengers were bound for Surigao, private respondents per advice, went to the branch office for proper relocation to M/S "Sweet Town". Because the said vessel was already filled to capacity, they were forced to agree "to hide at the cargo section to avoid inspection of the officers of the Philippine Coastguard." Private respondents alleged that they were, during the trip," "exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship's cargo of corn grits," and that the tickets they bought at Cagayan de Oro City for Tagbilaran were not honored and they were constrained to pay for other tickets. In view thereof, private respondents sued petitioner for damages and for breach of contract of carriage in the alleged sum of P10,000.00 before respondents Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental. 2 Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of improper venue. This motion was premised on the condition printed at the back of the tickets, i.e., Condition No. 14, which reads: 14. It is hereby agreed and understood that any and all actions arising out of the conditions and provisions of this ticket, irrespective of where it is issued, shall be filed in the competent courts in the City of Cebu. 3

The motion was denied by the trial court. 4 Petitioner moved to reconnsider the order of denial, but no avail. 5Hence, this instant petition for prohibition for preliminary injunction, 'alleging that the respondent judge has departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial preoceeding" and "had acted without or in excess or in error of his jurisdicton or in gross abuse of discretion. 6 In Our resolution of November 20, 1973, We restrained respondent Judge from proceeding further with the case and required respondent to comment. 7 On January 18, 1974, We gave due course to the petition and required respondent to answer. 8 Thereafter, the parties submitted their respesctive memoranda in support of their respective contentions. 9 Presented thus for Our resolution is a question is aquestion which, to all appearances, is one of first impression, to wit Is Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the petitioner's passage tickets purchased by private respondents, which limits the venue of actions arising from the contract of carriage to theCourt of First Instance of Cebu, valid and enforceable? Otherwise stated, may a common carrier engaged in inter-island shipping stipulate thru condition printed at the back of passage tickets to its vessels that any and all actions arising out of the ocntract of carriage should be filed only in a particular province or city, in this case the City of Cebu, to the exclusion of all others? Petitioner contends thaty Condition No. 14 is valid and enforceable, since private respndents acceded to tit when they purchased passage tickets at its Cagayan de Oro branch office and took its vessel M/S "Sweet Town" for passage to Tagbilaran, Bohol that the condition of the venue of actions in the City of Cebu is proper since venue may be validly waived, citing cases; 10 that is an effective waiver of venue, valid and binding as such, since it is printed in bold and capital letters and not in fine print and merely assigns the place where the action sing from the contract is institution likewise citing cases; 11 and that condition No. 14 is unequivocal and mandatory, the words and phrases "any and all", "irrespective of where it is issued," and "shag" leave no doubt that the intention of Condition No. 14 is to fix the venue in the City of Cebu, to the exclusion of other places; that the orders of the respondent Judge are an unwarranted departure from established jurisprudence governing the case; and that he acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction in is the orders complained of. 12 On the other hand, private respondents claim that Condition No. 14 is not valid, that the same is not an essential element of the contract of carriage, being in itself a different agreement which requires the mutual consent of the parties to it; that they had no say in its preparation, the existence of which they could not refuse, hence, they had no choice but to pay for the tickets and to avail of petitioner's shipping facilities out of necessity; that the carrier "has been exacting too much from the public by inserting impositions in the passage tickets too burdensome to bear," that the condition which was printed in fine letters is an imposition on the riding public and does not bind respondents, citing cases; 13 that while venue 6f actions may be transferred from one province to another, such arrangement requires the "written agreement of the parties", not to be imposed unilaterally; and that assuming that the condition is valid, it is not exclusive and does not, therefore, exclude the filing of the action in Misamis Oriental,14 There is no question that there was a valid contract of carriage entered into by petitioner and private respondents and that the passage tickets, upon which the latter based their complaint, are the best evidence thereof. All the essential elements of a valid contract, i.e., consent, cause or consideration and object, are present. As held inPeralta de Guerrero, et al. v. Madrigal Shipping Co., Inc., 15

It is a matter of common knowledge that whenever a passenger boards a ship for transportation from one place to another he is issued a ticket by the shipper which has all the elements of a written contract, Namely: (1) the consent of the contracting parties manifested by the fact that the passenger boards the ship and the shipper consents or accepts him in the ship for transportation; (2) cause or consideration which is the fare paid by the passenger as stated in the ticket; (3) object, which is the transportation of the passenger from the place of departure to the place of destination which are stated in the ticket. It should be borne in mind, however, that with respect to the fourteen (14) conditions one of which is "Condition No. 14" which is in issue in this case printed at the back of the passage tickets, these are commonly known as "contracts of adhesion," the validity and/or enforceability of which will have to be determined by the peculiar circumstances obtaining in each case and the nature of the conditions or terms sought to be enforced. For, "(W)hile generally, stipulations in a contract come about after deliberate drafting by the parties thereto, ... there are certain contracts almost all the provisions of which have been drafted only by one party, usually a corporation. Such contracts are called contracts of adhesion, because the only participation of the party is the signing of his signature or his 'adhesion' thereto. Insurance contracts, bills of lading, contracts of make of lots on the installment plan fall into this category" 16 By the peculiar circumstances under which contracts of adhesion are entered into namely, that it is drafted only by one party, usually the corporation, and is sought to be accepted or adhered to by the other party, in this instance the passengers, private respondents, who cannot change the same and who are thus made to adhere thereto on the "take it or leave it" basis certain guidelines in the determination of their validity and/or enforceability have been formulated in order to that justice and fan play characterize the relationship of the contracting parties. Thus, this Court speaking through Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Qua Chee Gan v. Law Union and Rock Insurance Co., 17 and later through Justice Fernando in Fieldman Insurance v. Vargas, 18 held The courts cannot ignore that nowadays, monopolies, cartels and concentration of capital endowed with overwhelm economic power, manage to impose upon parties d with them y prepared 'agreements' that the weaker party may not change one whit his participation in the 'agreement' being reduced to the alternative 'to take it or leave it,' labelled since Raymond Saleilles 'contracts by adherence' (contracts d' adhesion) in contrast to those entered into by parties bargaining on an equal footing. Such contracts (of which policies of insurance and international bill of lading are prime examples) obviously cap for greater strictness and vigilance on the part of the courts of justice with a view to protecting the weaker party from abuses and imposition, and prevent their becoming traps for the unwary. To the same effect and import, and, in recognition of the character of contracts of this kind, the protection of the disadvantaged is expressly enjoined by the New Civil Code In all contractual property or other relations, when one of the parties is at a disadvantage on account of his moral dependence, ignorance indigence, mental weakness, tender age and other handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection. 19

Considered in the light Of the foregoing norms and in the context Of circumstances Prevailing in the inter-island ship. ping industry in the country today, We find and hold that Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the passage tickets should be held as void and unenforceable for the following reasons first, under circumstances obligation in the inter-island ship. ping industry, it is not just and fair to bind passengers to the terms of the conditions printed at the back of the passage tickets, on which Condition No. 14 is Printed in fine letters, and second, Condition No. 14 subverts the public policy on transfer of venue of proceedings of this nature, since the same will prejudice rights and interests of innumerable passengers in different s of the country who, under Condition No. 14, will have to file suits against petitioner only in the City of Cebu. 1. It is a matter of public knowledge, of which We can take judicial notice, that there is a dearth of and acute shortage in inter- island vessels plying between the country's several islands, and the facilities they offer leave much to be desired. Thus, even under ordinary circumstances, the piers are congested with passengers and their cargo waiting to be transported. The conditions are even worse at peak and/or the rainy seasons, when Passengers literally scramble to whatever accommodations may be availed of, even through circuitous routes, and/or at the risk of their safety their immediate concern, for the moment, being to be able to board vessels with the hope of reaching their destinations. The schedules are as often as not if not more so delayed or altered. This was precisely the experience of private respondents when they were relocated to M/S "Sweet Town" from M/S "Sweet Hope" and then any to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship's cargo of corn grits, " because even the latter was filed to capacity. Under these circumstances, it is hardly just and proper to expect the passengers to examine their tickets received from crowded/congested counters, more often than not during rush hours, for conditions that may be printed much charge them with having consented to the conditions, so printed, especially if there are a number of such conditions m fine print, as in this case. 20 Again, it should be noted that Condition No. 14 was prepared solely at the ms of the petitioner, respondents had no say in its preparation. Neither did the latter have the opportunity to take the into account prior to the purpose chase of their tickets. For, unlike the small print provisions of contracts the common example of contracts of adherence which are entered into by the insured in his awareness of said conditions, since the insured is afforded the op to and co the same, passengers of inter-island v do not have the same chance, since their alleged adhesion is presumed only from the fact that they purpose chased the tickets. It should also be stressed that slapping companies are franchise holders of certificates of public convenience and therefore, posses a virtual monopoly over the business of transporting passengers between the ports covered by their franchise. This being so, shipping companies, like petitioner, engaged in inter-island shipping, have a virtual monopoly of the business of transporting passengers and may thus dictate their terms of passage, leaving passengers with no choice but to buy their tickets and avail of their vessels and facilities. Finally, judicial notice may be taken of the fact that the bulk of those who board these inter-island vested come from the low-income groups and are less literate, and who have little or no choice but to avail of petitioner's vessels. 2. Condition No. 14 is subversive of public policy on transfers of venue of actions. For, although venue may be changed or transferred from one province to another by agreement of the parties in writing t to Rule 4, Section 3, of the Rules of Court, such an agreement will not be held valid where it practically negates the action of the claimants, such as the private respondents herein. The philosophy underlying

the provisions on transfer of venue of actions is the convenience of the plaintiffs as well as his witnesses and to promote 21 the ends of justice. Considering the expense and trouble a passenger residing outside of Cebu City would incur to prosecute a claim in the City of Cebu, he would most probably decide not to file the action at all. The condition will thus defeat, instead of enhance, the ends of justice. Upon the other hand, petitioner has branches or offices in the respective ports of call of its vessels and can afford to litigate in any of these places. Hence, the filing of the suit in the CFI of Misamis Oriental, as was done in the instant case, will not cause inconvenience to, much less prejudice, petitioner. Public policy is ". . . that principle of the law which holds that no subject or citizen can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good ... 22 Under this principle" ... freedom of contract or private dealing is restricted by law for the good of the public. 23 Clearly, Condition No. 14, if enforced, will be subversive of the public good or interest, since it will frustrate in meritorious cases, actions of passenger cants outside of Cebu City, thus placing petitioner company at a decided advantage over said persons, who may have perfectly legitimate claims against it. The said condition should, therefore, be declared void and unenforceable, as contrary to public policy to make the courts accessible to all who may have need of their services. WHEREFORE, the petition for prohibition is DISMISS. ED. The restraining order issued on November 20, 1973, is hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE. Costs against petitioner. Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur. Antonio, J., reserves his vote.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring: I concur in the dismissal of the instant petition. Only a few days ago, in Hoechst Philippines, Inc. vs. Francisco Torres, et al., G. R. No. L-44351, promulgated May 18, 1978, We made it clear that although generally, agreements regarding change of venue are enforceable, there may be instances where for equitable considerations and in the better interest of justice, a court may justify the laying of, the venue in the place fixed by the rules instead of following written stipulation of the parties. In the particular case at bar, there is actually no written agreement as to venue between the parties in the sense contemplated in Section 3 of Rule 4, which governs the matter. I take it that the importance that a stipulation regarding change of the venue fixed by law entails is such that nothing less than mutually conscious agreement as to it must be what the rule means. In the instant case, as well pointed out in the main opinion, the ticket issued to private respondents by petitioner constitutes at best a

"contract of adhesion". In other words, it is not that kind of a contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing, since it was just imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship. It is common knowledge that individuals who avail of common carriers hardly read the fine prints on such tickets to note anything more than the price thereof and the destination designated therein. Under these circumstances, it would seem that, since this case is already in respondent court and there is no showing that, with its more or less known resources as owner of several inter-island vessels plying between the different ports of the Philippines for sometime already, petitioner would be greatly inconvenienced by submitting to the jurisdiction of said respondent court, it is best to allow the proceedings therein to continue. I cannot conceive of any juridical injury such a step can cause to anyone concerned. I vote to dismiss the petition.

Separate Opinions BARREDO, J., concurring: I concur in the dismissal of the instant petition. Only a few days ago, in Hoechst Philippines, Inc. vs. Francisco Torres, et al., G. R. No. L-44351, promulgated May 18, 1978, We made it clear that although generally, agreements regarding change of venue are enforceable, there may be instances where for equitable considerations and in the better interest of justice, a court may justify the laying of, the venue in the place fixed by the rules instead of following written stipulation of the parties. In the particular case at bar, there is actually no written agreement as to venue between the parties in the sense contemplated in Section 3 of Rule 4, which governs the matter. I take it that the importance that a stipulation regarding change of the venue fixed by law entails is such that nothing less than mutually conscious agreement as to it must be what the rule means. In the instant case, as well pointed out in the main opinion, the ticket issued to private respondents by petitioner constitutes at best a "contract of adhesion". In other words, it is not that kind of a contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing, since it was just imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship. It is common knowledge that individuals who avail of common carriers hardly read the fine prints on such tickets to note anything more than the price thereof and the destination designated therein. Under these circumstances, it would seem that, since this case is already in respondent court and there is no showing that, with its more or less known resources as owner of several inter-island vessels plying between the different ports of the Philippines for sometime already, petitioner would be greatly inconvenienced by submitting to the jurisdiction of said respondent court, it is best to allow the

proceedings therein to continue. I cannot conceive of any juridical injury such a step can cause to anyone concerned. I vote to dismiss the petition. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 84458 November 6, 1989 ABOITIZ SHIPPING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ELEVENTH DIVISION, LUCILA C. VIANA, SPS. ANTONIO VIANA and GORGONIA VIANA, and PIONEER STEVEDORING CORPORATION, respondents. Herenio E. Martinez for petitioner. M.R. Villaluz Law Office for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.: In this appeal by certiorari, petitioner Aboitiz Shipping Corporation seeks a review of the decision 1 of respondent Court of Appeals, dated July 29, 1988, the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from as modified by the order of October 27, 1982, is hereby affirmed with the modification that appellant Aboitiz Shipping is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff-appellees the amount of P30,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana; actual damages of P9,800.00; P150,000.00 for unearned income; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents; P20,000.00 as moral damages; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and to pay the costs. The undisputed facts of the case, as found by the court a quo and adopted by respondent court, are as follows: . The evidence disclosed that on May 11, 1975, Anacleto Viana boarded the vessel M/V Antonia, owned by defendant, at the port at San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, bound for Manila, having purchased a ticket (No. 117392) in the sum of P23.10 (Exh. 'B'). On May 12, 1975, said vessel arrived at Pier 4, North Harbor, Manila, and the passengers therein disembarked, a gangplank having been provided connecting the side of the vessel to the pier. Instead of using said gangplank Anacleto Viana disembarked on the third deck which was on the level with the pier. After said vessel had landed, the Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation took over the exclusive control of the cargoes loaded on said vessel pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement dated July 26, 1975 (Exh. '2')

between the third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation and defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation. The crane owned by the third party defendant and operated by its crane operator Alejo Figueroa was placed alongside the vessel and one (1) hour after the passengers of said vessel had disembarked, it started operation by unloading the cargoes from said vessel. While the crane was being operated, Anacleto Viana who had already disembarked from said vessel obviously remembering that some of his cargoes were still loaded in the vessel, went back to the vessel, and it was while he was pointing to the crew of the said vessel to the place where his cargoes were loaded that the crane hit him, pinning him between the side of the vessel and the crane. He was thereafter brought to the hospital where he later expired three (3) days thereafter, on May 15, 1975, the cause of his death according to the Death Certificate (Exh. "C") being "hypostatic pneumonia secondary to traumatic fracture of the pubic bone lacerating the urinary bladder" (See also Exh. "B"). For his hospitalization, medical, burial and other miscellaneous expenses, Anacleto's wife, herein plaintiff, spent a total of P9,800.00 (Exhibits "E", "E-1", to "E-5"). Anacleto Viana who was only forty (40) years old when he met said fateful accident (Exh. 'E') was in good health. His average annual income as a farmer or a farm supervisor was 400 cavans of palay annually. His parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana, prior to his death had been recipient of twenty (20) cavans of palay as support or P120.00 monthly. Because of Anacleto's death, plaintiffs suffered mental anguish and extreme worry or moral damages. For the filing of the instant case, they had to hire a lawyer for an agreed fee of ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos. 2 Private respondents Vianas filed a complaint 3 for damages against petitioner corporation (Aboitiz, for brevity) for breach of contract of carriage. In its answer. 4 Aboitiz denied responsibility contending that at the time of the accident, the vessel was completely under the control of respondent Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation (Pioneer, for short) as the exclusive stevedoring contractor of Aboitiz, which handled the unloading of cargoes from the vessel of Aboitiz. It is also averred that since the crane operator was not an employee of Aboitiz, the latter cannot be held liable under the fellow-servant rule. Thereafter, Aboitiz, as third-party plaintiff, filed a third-party complaint 5 against Pioneer imputing liability thereto for Anacleto Viana's death as having been allegedly caused by the negligence of the crane operator who was an employee of Pioneer under its exclusive control and supervision. Pioneer, in its answer to the third-party complaint, 6 raised the defenses that Aboitiz had no cause of action against Pioneer considering that Aboitiz is being sued by the Vianas for breach of contract of carriage to which Pioneer is not a party; that Pioneer had observed the diligence of a good father of a family both in the selection and supervision of its employees as well as in the prevention of damage or injury to anyone including the victim Anacleto Viana; that Anacleto Viana's gross negligence was the direct and proximate cause of his death; and that the filing of the third-party complaint was premature by reason of the pendency of the criminal case for homicide through reckless imprudence filed against the crane operator, Alejo Figueroa.

In a decision rendered on April 17, 1980 by the trial court, 7 Aboitiz was ordered to pay the Vianas for damages incurred, and Pioneer was ordered to reimburse Aboitiz for whatever amount the latter paid the Vianas. The dispositive portion of said decision provides: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plantiffs: (1) ordering defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation to pay to plaintiffs the sum of P12,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana P9,800.00 as actual damages; P533,200.00 value of the 10,664 cavans of palay computed at P50.00 per cavan; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; F 5,000.00, value of the 100 cavans of palay as support for five (5) years for deceased (sic) parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana computed at P50.00 per cavan; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents computed at P120.00 a month for five years pursuant to Art. 2206, Par. 2, of the Civil Code; P20,000.00 as moral damages, and costs; and (2) ordering the third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation to reimburse defendant and third party plaintiff Aboitiz Shipping Corporation the said amounts that it is ordered to pay to herein plaintiffs. Both Aboitiz and Pioneer filed separate motions for reconsideration wherein they similarly raised the trial court's failure to declare that Anacleto Viana acted with gross negligence despite the overwhelming evidence presented in support thereof. In addition, Aboitiz alleged, in opposition to Pioneer's motion, that under the memorandum of agreement the liability of Pioneer as contractor is automatic for any damages or losses whatsoever occasioned by and arising from the operation of its arrastre and stevedoring service. In an order dated October 27, 1982, 8 the trial court absolved Pioneer from liability for failure of the Vianas and Aboitiz to preponderantly establish a case of negligence against the crane operator which the court a quo ruled is never presumed, aside from the fact that the memorandum of agreement supposedly refers only to Pioneer's liability in case of loss or damage to goods handled by it but not in the case of personal injuries, and, finally that Aboitiz cannot properly invoke the fellow-servant rule simply because its liability stems from a breach of contract of carriage. The dispositive portion of said order reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby modified insofar as third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation is concerned rendered in favor of the plaintiffs-,: (1) Ordering defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P12,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana; P9,000.00 (sic) as actual damages; P533,200.00 value of the 10,664 cavans of palay computed at P50.00 per cavan; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; P5,000.00 value of the 100 cavans of palay as support for five (5) years for deceased's parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana,computed at P50.00 per cavan; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents computed at P120.00 a month for five years pursuant to Art. 2206, Par. 2, of the Civil Code; P20,000.00 as moral damages, and costs; and

(2) Absolving third-party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation for (sic) any liability for the death of Anacleto Viana the passenger of M/V Antonia owned by defendant third party plaintiff Aboitiz Shipping Corporation it appearing that the negligence of its crane operator has not been established therein. Not satisfied with the modified judgment of the trial court, Aboitiz appealed the same to respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the findings of of the trial court except as to the amount of damages awarded to the Vianas. Hence, this petition wherein petitioner Aboitiz postulates that respondent court erred: (A) In holding that the doctrine laid down by this honorable Court in La Mallorca vs. Court of Appeals, et al. (17 SCRA 739, July 27, 1966) is applicable to the case in the face of the undisputable fact that the factual situation under the La Mallorca case is radically different from the facts obtaining in this case; (B) In holding petitioner liable for damages in the face of the finding of the court a quo and confirmed by the Honorable respondent court of Appeals that the deceased, Anacleto Viana was guilty of contributory negligence, which, We respectfully submit contributory negligence was the proximate cause of his death; specifically the honorable respondent Court of Appeals failed to apply Art. 1762 of the New Civil Code; (C) In the alternative assuming the holding of the Honorable respondent Court of Appears that petitioner may be legally condemned to pay damages to the private respondents we respectfully submit that it committed a reversible error when it dismissed petitioner's third party complaint against private respondent Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation instead of compelling the latter to reimburse the petitioner for whatever damages it may be compelled to pay to the private respondents Vianas. 9 At threshold, it is to be observed that both the trial court and respondent Court of Appeals found the victim Anacleto Viana guilty of contributory negligence, but holding that it was the negligence of Aboitiz in prematurely turning over the vessel to the arrastre operator for the unloading of cargoes which was the direct, immediate and proximate cause of the victim's death. I. Petitioner contends that since one (1) hour had already elapsed from the time Anacleto Viana disembarked from the vessel and that he was given more than ample opportunity to unload his cargoes prior to the operation of the crane, his presence on the vessel was no longer reasonable e and he consequently ceased to be a passenger. Corollarily, it insists that the doctrine in La Mallorca vs. Court of Appeals, et al. 10 is not applicable to the case at bar. The rule is that the relation of carrier and passenger continues until the passenger has been landed at the port of destination and has left the vessel owner's dock or premises. 11 Once created, the relationship will not ordinarily terminate until the passenger has, after reaching his destination, safely alighted from the carrier's conveyance or had a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. All persons who remain on the premises a reasonable time after leaving the conveyance are to be deemed passengers, and what is a reasonable time or a reasonable delay within this rule is to be determined from all the circumstances, and includes a reasonable time to see after his baggage and

prepare for his departure. 12 The carrier-passenger relationship is not terminated merely by the fact that the person transported has been carried to his destination if, for example, such person remains in the carrier's premises to claim his baggage. 13 It was in accordance with this rationale that the doctrine in the aforesaid case of La Mallorca was enunciated, to wit: It has been recognized as a rule that the relation of carrier and passenger does not cease at the moment the passenger alights from the carrier's vehicle at a place selected by the carrier at the point of destination, but continues until the passenger has had a reasonable time or a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. And, what is a reasonable time or a reasonable delay within this rule is to be determined from all the circumstances. Thus, a person who, after alighting from a train, walks along the station platform is considered still a passenger. So also, where a passenger has alighted at his destination and is proceeding by the usual way to leave the company's premises, but before actually doing so is halted by the report that his brother, a fellow passenger, has been shot, and he in good faith and without intent of engaging in the difficulty, returns to relieve his brother, he is deemed reasonably and necessarily delayed and thus continues to be a passenger entitled as such to the protection of the railroad company and its agents. In the present case, the father returned to the bus to get one of his baggages which was not unloaded when they alighted from the bus. Racquel, the child that she was, must have followed the father. However, although the father was still on the running board of the bus waiting for the conductor to hand him the bag or bayong, the bus started to run, so that even he (the father) had to jump down from the moving vehicle. It was at this instance that the child, who must be near the bus, was run over and killed. In the circumstances, it cannot be claimed that the carrier's agent had exercised the 'utmost diligence' of a 'very cautious person' required by Article 1755 of the Civil Code to be observed by a common carrier in the discharge of its obligation to transport safely its passengers. ... The presence of said passengers near the bus was not unreasonable and they are, therefore, to be considered still as passengers of the carrier, entitled to the protection under their contract of carriage. 14 It is apparent from the foregoing that what prompted the Court to rule as it did in said case is the fact of the passenger's reasonable presence within the carrier's premises. That reasonableness of time should be made to depend on the attending circumstances of the case, such as the kind of common carrier, the nature of its business, the customs of the place, and so forth, and therefore precludes a consideration of the time element per se without taking into account such other factors. It is thus of no moment whether in the cited case of La Mallorcathere was no appreciable interregnum for the passenger therein to leave the carrier's premises whereas in the case at bar, an interval of one (1) hour had elapsed before the victim met the accident. The primary factor to be considered is the existence of a reasonable cause as will justify the presence of the victim on or near the petitioner's vessel. We believe there exists such a justifiable cause. It is of common knowledge that, by the very nature of petitioner's business as a shipper, the passengers of vessels are allotted a longer period of time to disembark from the ship than other common carriers such as a passenger bus. With respect to the bulk of cargoes and the number of passengers it can load,

such vessels are capable of accommodating a bigger volume of both as compared to the capacity of a regular commuter bus. Consequently, a ship passenger will need at least an hour as is the usual practice, to disembark from the vessel and claim his baggage whereas a bus passenger can easily get off the bus and retrieve his luggage in a very short period of time. Verily, petitioner cannot categorically claim, through the bare expedient of comparing the period of time entailed in getting the passenger's cargoes, that the ruling in La Mallorca is inapplicable to the case at bar. On the contrary, if we are to apply the doctrine enunciated therein to the instant petition, we cannot in reason doubt that the victim Anacleto Viana was still a passenger at the time of the incident. When the accident occurred, the victim was in the act of unloading his cargoes, which he had every right to do, from petitioner's vessel. As earlier stated, a carrier is duty bound not only to bring its passengers safely to their destination but also to afford them a reasonable time to claim their baggage. It is not definitely shown that one (1) hour prior to the incident, the victim had already disembarked from the vessel. Petitioner failed to prove this. What is clear to us is that at the time the victim was taking his cargoes, the vessel had already docked an hour earlier. In consonance with common shipping procedure as to the minimum time of one (1) hour allowed for the passengers to disembark, it may be presumed that the victim had just gotten off the vessel when he went to retrieve his baggage. Yet, even if he had already disembarked an hour earlier, his presence in petitioner's premises was not without cause. The victim had to claim his baggage which was possible only one (1) hour after the vessel arrived since it was admittedly standard procedure in the case of petitioner's vessels that the unloading operations shall start only after that time. Consequently, under the foregoing circumstances, the victim Anacleto Viana is still deemed a passenger of said carrier at the time of his tragic death. II. Under the law, common carriers are, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each case. 15 More particularly, a common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. 16 Thus, where a passenger dies or is injured, the common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently. 17 This gives rise to an action for breach of contract of carriage where all that is required of plaintiff is to prove the existence of the contract of carriage and its non-performance by the carrier, that is, the failure of the carrier to carry the passenger safely to his destination, 18which, in the instant case, necessarily includes its failure to safeguard its passenger with extraordinary diligence while such relation subsists. The presumption is, therefore, established by law that in case of a passenger's death or injury the operator of the vessel was at fault or negligent, having failed to exercise extraordinary diligence, and it is incumbent upon it to rebut the same. This is in consonance with the avowed policy of the State to afford full protection to the passengers of common carriers which can be carried out only by imposing a stringent statutory obligation upon the latter. Concomitantly, this Court has likewise adopted a rigid posture in the application of the law by exacting the highest degree of care and diligence from common carriers, bearing utmost in mind the welfare of the passengers who often become hapless victims of indifferent and profit-oriented carriers. We cannot in reason deny that petitioner failed to rebut the presumption against it. Under the facts obtaining in the present case, it cannot be gainsaid that petitioner had inadequately complied with the required degree of diligence to prevent the accident from happening.

As found by the Court of Appeals, the evidence does not show that there was a cordon of drums around the perimeter of the crane, as claimed by petitioner. It also adverted to the fact that the alleged presence of visible warning signs in the vicinity was disputable and not indubitably established. Thus, we are not inclined to accept petitioner's explanation that the victim and other passengers were sufficiently warned that merely venturing into the area in question was fraught with serious peril. Definitely, even assuming the existence of the supposed cordon of drums loosely placed around the unloading area and the guard's admonitions against entry therein, these were at most insufficient precautions which pale into insignificance if considered vis-a-vis the gravity of the danger to which the deceased was exposed. There is no showing that petitioner was extraordinarily diligent in requiring or seeing to it that said precautionary measures were strictly and actually enforced to subserve their purpose of preventing entry into the forbidden area. By no stretch of liberal evaluation can such perfunctory acts approximate the "utmost diligence of very cautious persons" to be exercised "as far as human care and foresight can provide" which is required by law of common carriers with respect to their passengers. While the victim was admittedly contributorily negligent, still petitioner's aforesaid failure to exercise extraordinary diligence was the proximate and direct cause of, because it could definitely have prevented, the former's death. Moreover, in paragraph 5.6 of its petition, at bar, 19 petitioner has expressly conceded the factual finding of respondent Court of Appeals that petitioner did not present sufficient evidence in support of its submission that the deceased Anacleto Viana was guilty of gross negligence. Petitioner cannot now be heard to claim otherwise. No excepting circumstance being present, we are likewise bound by respondent court's declaration that there was no negligence on the part of Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation, a confirmation of the trial court's finding to that effect, hence our conformity to Pioneer's being absolved of any liability. As correctly observed by both courts, Aboitiz joined Pioneer in proving the alleged gross negligence of the victim, hence its present contention that the death of the passenger was due to the negligence of the crane operator cannot be sustained both on grounds, of estoppel and for lack of evidence on its present theory. Even in its answer filed in the court below it readily alleged that Pioneer had taken the necessary safeguards insofar as its unloading operations were concerned, a fact which appears to have been accepted by the plaintiff therein by not impleading Pioneer as a defendant, and likewise inceptively by Aboitiz by filing its third-party complaint only after ten (10) months from the institution of the suit against it. Parenthetically, Pioneer is not within the ambit of the rule on extraordinary diligence required of, and the corresponding presumption of negligence foisted on, common carriers like Aboitiz. This, of course, does not detract from what we have said that no negligence can be imputed to Pioneer but, that on the contrary, the failure of Aboitiz to exercise extraordinary diligence for the safety of its passenger is the rationale for our finding on its liability. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-21486 May 14, 1966

LA MALLORCA and PAMPANGA BUS COMPANY, petitioner, vs. VALENTIN DE JESUS, MANOLO TOLENTINO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. Manuel O. Chan for petitioners. Sixto T. Antonio for respondents. MAKALINTAL, J.: La Mallorca and Pampanga Bus Company, Inc., commonly known as La Mallorca-Pambusco, filed this appeal bycertiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed that rendered by the Court of First Instance of Bulacan in its civil case No. 2100, entitled "Valentin de Jesus and Manolo Tolentino vs. La Mallorca-Pambusco." The court a quo sentenced the defendant, now petitioner, "to pay to plaintiffs the amount of P2,132.50 for actual damages; P14,400.00 as compensatory damages; P10,000.00 to each plaintiff by way of moral damages; and P3,000.00 as counsel fees." Two errors are attributed to the appellate Court: (1) "in sustaining the decision (of the court a quo) holding that the petitioners were liable for the accident which was caused by a blow-out of one of the tires of the bus and in not considering the same as caso fortuito," and (2) in holding petitioners liable for moral damages. The suit arose by reason of the death of Lolita de Jesus, 20-year old daughter of Valentin de Jesus and wife of Manolo Tolentino, in a head-on collision between petitioner's bus, on which she was a passenger, and a freight truck traveling in the opposite direction, in a barrio in Marilao Bulacan, in the morning of October 8, 1959. The immediate cause of the collision was the fact that the driver of the bus lost control of the wheel when its left front tire suddenly exploded. Petitioner maintains that a tire blow-out is a fortuitous event and gives rise to no liability for negligence, citing the rulings of the Court of Appeals in Rodriguez vs. Red Line Transportation Co., CA-G.R. No. 8136, December 29, 1954, and People vs. Palapad, CA-G.R. No. 18480, June 27, 1958. These rulings, however, not only are not not binding on this Court but were based on considerations quite different from those that obtain in the at bar. The appellate Court there made no findings of any specified acts of negligence on the part of the defendants and confined itself to the question of whether or not a tire blow-out, by itself alone and without a showing as to the causative factors, would generate liability. In the present case, the cause of the blow-out was known. The inner tube of the left front tire, according to petitioner's own evidence and as found by the Court of Appeals "was pressed between the inner circle of the left wheel and the rim which had slipped out of the wheel." This was, said Court correctly held, a mechanical defect of the conveyance or a fault in its equipment which was easily discoverable if the bus had been subjected to a more thorough, or rigid check-up before it took to the road that morning.

Then again both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found as a fact that the bus was running quite fast immediately before the accident. Considering that the tire which exploded was not new petitioner describes it as "hindi masyadong kalbo," or not so very worn out the plea of caso fortuito cannot be entertained.1wph1.t The second issue raised by petitioner is already a settled one. In this jurisdiction moral damages are recoverable by reason of the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract of a common carrier, as provided in Article 1764, in relation to Article 2206, of the Civil Code. These articles have been applied by this Court in a number of cases, among them Necesito, etc. vs. Paras, et al., L-10605-06, June 30, 1958; Mercado vs. Lira, L-13328-29, Sept. 29, 1961; Villa-Rey Transit vs. Bello, L-18957, April 23, 1963. Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against petitioners.