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Laguna Tayabas Bus v.

Tiongson
(16 SCRA 940, April 30, 1966, Dizon, J.)

FACTS:
An LTB bus collided with a 7-UP delivery truck coming from the opposite direction while
trying to evade a road depression. As a consequence, the bud fell on its right side on
the shoulder of the road resulting in the death of Ricardo Tiongson. Both drivers were
prosecuted criminally but a separate action was filed by the heirs of the deceased
against the petitioner LTB. CA affirmed the CFI decision ordering LTB to pay P50,000 by
way of actual, compensatory and moral damages. LTB filed petition for certiorari.
HELD:
The liability of a carrier is contractual and arises upon its breach of the obligation, and
there is a breach if it fails to exercise extraordinary diligence according to all
circumstances of each case. A carrier is obliged to carry its passengers with utmost
diligence of a very cautious person, having due regard for all circumstances sorrounding
the case. A carrier is presumed to be at fault or to have acted negligently in case of
death of, or injury to its passengers, it being its duty to prove that it exercised
extraordinary diligence.
LTB has not successfully discharged the burden of disproving its presumptive
negligence because of its failure to transport its passenger to his destination and has
not sufficiently established its defense of fortuitous event. On the contrary, the driver
applied the brakes in his bus too late
(distance of 10 meters) to avoid the accident, and the driver was aware of the
depression, driving along the same route for a considerable period of time.
This sufficiently showed that the company had not exercised due care and diligence in
connection with the hiring of the driver. The CA therefore found that petitioner has failed
to disprove the presumption of negligence (Arts. 1733, 1755, 1756, NCC) and that its
negligence had been established by more than mere preponderance of evidence.
Petitioner's liability for moral damages cannot now be seriously questioned in view of
Arts. 1764 and 2206 of the NCC and the ruling in Necesito v. Paras. Decision
AFFIRMED.

Baliwag Transit, INC. v. CA


(256 SCRA 746, May 15, 1996, Puno, J.)
FACTS:
On July 32, 1980, Leticia Garcia, and her five-year old son, Allan Garcia,
boarded Baliwag Transit Bus No. 2036 bound for Cabanatuan City driven
by Jaime Santiago. They took the seat behind the driver. At about 7:30 in
the evening, in Malimba, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, the bus passengers saw a
cargo truck parked at the shoulder of the national highway. Its left rear
portion jutted to the outer lane, as the shoulder of the road was too narrow
to accommodate the whole truck. A kerosene lamp appeared at the edge of
the road obviously to serve as a warning device. The truck driver, Julio
Recontique, and his helper, Arturo Escala, were then replacing a flat tire.
The truck is owned by respondent A & J Trading.
The bus rammed into the stalled cargo truck. It caused the instant death of
Santiago and Escala, and injury to several others. Leticia and Allan Garcia
were among the injured passengers. Spouses Antonio and Leticia Garcia
sued Baliwag Transit, Inc., A & J Trading and Julio Recontique for damages
in the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan. Leticia sued as an injured passenger
of Baliwag and as mother of Allan. At the time of the complaint, Allan was a
minor, hence, the suit initiated by his parents in his favor.
HELD:
The records are bereft of any proof to show that Baliwag exercised
extraordinary diligence. On the contrary, the evidence demonstrate its
driver's recklessness. Leticia Garcia testified that the bus was running at a
very high speed despite the drizzle and the darkness of the highway. The
passengers pleaded for its driver to slow down, but their plea was ignored.
Leticia also revealed that the driver was smelling of liquor. She could smell
him as she was seated right behind the driver. Another passenger, Felix
Cruz testified that immediately before the collission, the bus driver was
conversing with a co-emoloyee. All these prove the bus driver's wanton

disregard for the physical safety of his passengers, which makes Baliwag
as a common carrier liable for damages under Article 1759 of the Civil
Code. Baliwag cannot evade its liability by insisting that the accident was
caused solely by the negligence of A & J Trading and Julio Recontique. It
harps on their alleged non-use of an early warning device.
The records do not bear out Baliwag's contention. Col. dela Cruz and
Romano testified that they did not see any early warning devicenat the
scene of the accident. They were refering to the triangular reflectorized
plates in red and yellow issued by the Land Transportation Office. However,
the evidence shows that Recontique and Escala placed a kerosene lamp or
torch atbthe edge of the road, near the rear portion of the truck to serve as
an early warning device. This substantially complied with Section 34(g) of
the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, to wit:
"(g) Lights and reflector when parked or disabled. --- Appropriate parking
lights or flares visible one hundred meters away shall be displayed at the
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. Furthermore, every motor vehicle shall be provided at all
times with built-in reflectors or other similar warning devices either pasted,
painted or attached at its front and back which shall likewise be visible at
night at least one hundred meters away. No vehicle not provided with any
of the requirements mentioned in this subsection shall be registered."
The aforequoted law clearly allows the use not only of an early warning
device of the triangular reflectorized plates variety but also parking lights or
flares visible one hundred meters away. Indeed, Col. dela Cruz himself
admitted that a kerosene lamp is an acceptable substitute for the
reflectorized plates. No negligence, therefore, may be imputed to A & J
Trading and its driver, Recontique. The CA decision awarding damages to
the Garcias is AFFIRMED.

CERVANTES VS CA
( 304 SCRA 25, March 2, 1999, Purisima, J.)
FACTS:
PAL issued to Cervantes a round trip ticket for Manila-Honolulu-Los
Angeles-Honolulu-Manila. This ticket expressly provide an expiry date of 1
year from issuance or until March 27, 1990.The ticket was issued in
compliance w/ a Compromise Agreement entered between PAL &
Cervantes in 2 previous suits between them. On March 3, 1990, $ days
before the expiry date, Cervantes used it. Upon his arrival to LA, on the
same day, he immediately booked his LA-Manila return ticket w/ PAL office
which was confirmed for April 2, 1990 flight. Cervantes learned that the
same PAL plane would make a stop-over in San Francisco and because he
would be in San Francisco on April 2, 1990, he made arrangements w/ PAL
for him to board the flight in San Francisco instead of boarding it in LA.
When Cervantes checked in at PAL counter in San Francisco he was not
allowed to board. PAL personnel made annotation on his ticket. TICKET
NOT ACCEPTED DUE TO EXPIRATION OF VALIDITY .Aggrieved,
Cervantes filed a complaint for damages for Breach of Contract of
Carriage. The RTC dismissed the complaint w/c was upheld by the CA.
ISSUE: Whether the act of the PAL agents in confirming the ticket of
Cervantes extended the period of validity.
RULING: The SC ruled in the negative.
The plane ticket itself provides that it is not valid after March 27, 1990. It is
also stipulated in paragraph 8 of the Conditions of Contract that This ticket
is good for carriage for one year from date of issue, except as otherwise
provided in this ticket, in carrier's tariffs, conditions of carriage, or related
regulations. The fare for carriage hereunder is subject to change prior to
commencement of carriage. Carrier may refuse transportation if the
applicable fare has not been paid.

In the case of Lufthansa vs. Court of Appeals, the SC held that the "ticket
constitute the contract between the parties. It is axiomatic that when the
terms are clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the contracting
parties, contracts are to be interpreted according to their literal meaning. "In
his effort to evade this inevitable conclusion, petitioner theorized that the
confirmation by the PAL's agents in Los Angeles and San Francisco
changed the compromise agreement between the parties. As aptly by the
appellate court: on March 23, 1990, he was aware of the risk that his ticket
could expire, as it did, before he returned to the Philippines. The 2
personnel from PAL did not have an authority to extend the validity of the
ticket. Cervantes knew this from the start when he called up the Legal
Department of appellee in the Philippines before he left for the United
States of America. He had first hand knowledge that the ticket in question
would expire on March 27, 1990 and that to secure an extension, he would
have to file a written request for extension at the PAL's office in the
Philippines. ). Despite this knowledge, he persisted to use the ticket in
question. "Since the PAL agents are not privy to the said Agreement and
Cervantes knew that a written request to the legal counsel of PAL was
necessary, he cannot use what the PAL agents did to his advantage. The
said agents, according to the Court of Appeals, acted without authority
when they confirmed the flights of the petitioner. Under Article 1989 of the
New Civil Code, the acts an agent beyond the scope of his authority do not
bind the principal, unless the latter ratifies the same expressly or impliedly.
Furthermore, when the third person (herein petitioner) knows that the agent
was acting beyond his power or authority, the principal cannot be held
liable for the acts of the agent. If the said third person is aware of such
limits of authority, he is to blame, and is not entitled to recover damages
from the agent, unless the latter undertook to secure the principal's
ratification.

FORTUNE EXPRESS, INC., vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 119756. March 18, 1999]
FACTS:
On November 18, 1989, a bus of petitioner figured in an accident with a
jeepney in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, resulting in the death of several
passengers of the jeepney, including two Maranaos. Military investigation
found that the owner of the jeepney was a Maranao and that certain
Maranaos were planning to take revenge on the petitioner by burning some
of its buses. Such information was disclosed to Diosdado Bravo, the
operations manager of petitioner, at its main office in Cagayan de Oro
City. Bravo assured him that the necessary precautions to insure the safety
of lives and property would be taken.
On November 22, 1989, three armed Maranaos seized a bus of petitioner
which resulted to the killing of one of the passengers of the bus Atty.
Caorong. The private respondents filed suit for breach of contract of
carriage in the RTC but the trial court dismissed the complaint holding the
defendant common carrier not negligent. On appeal, however, the Court of
Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not petitioner breached the contract of carriage by failure to
exercise the required degree of diligence.
2
Whether or not the act of the Maranao outlaws were so grave,
irresistible, violent and forceful, as to be regarded as caso fortuito.
RULING:
1. Art. 1763 of the Civil Code provides that a common carrier is responsible
for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of the willful acts of other
passengers, if the employees of the common carrier could have prevented
the act the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family. In the
present case, it is clear that because of the negligence of petitioners
employees, the seizure of the bus by Maranao outlaws was made possible.
Despite warning by the Philippine Constabulary that the Maranaos were
planning to take revenge on the petitioner by burning some of its buses and
the assurance of petitioners operation manager, Diosdado Bravo, that the

necessary precautions would be taken, petitioner did nothing to protect the


safety of its passengers.
Had petitioner and its employees been vigilant they would not have failed to
see that the malefactors had a large quantity of gasoline with them. Under
the circumstances, simple precautionary measures to protect the safety of
passengers, such as frisking passengers and inspecting their baggages,
preferably with non-intrusive gadgets such as metal detectors, before
allowing them on board could have been employed without violating the
passengers constitutional rights.
2
Art. 1174 of the Civil Code defines a fortuitous even as an occurrence
which could not be foreseen or which though foreseen, is
inevitable. In Yobido v. Court of Appeals, we held that to be considered as
force majeure, it is necessary that: (1) the cause of the breach of the
obligation must be independent of the human will; (2) the event must be
either unforeseeable or unavoidable; (3) the occurrence must be such as to
render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill the obligation in a normal
manner; and (4) the obligor must be free of participation in, or aggravation
of, the injury to the creditor.
The absence of any of the requisites mentioned above would prevent the
obligor from being excused from liability. Thus, in Vasquez v. Court of
Appeals, it was held that the common carrier was liable for its failure to take
the necessary precautions against an approaching typhoon, of which it was
warned, resulting in the loss of the lives of several passengers. The event
was foreseeable, and, thus, the second requisite mentioned above was not
fulfilled. This ruling applies by analogy to the present case. Despite the
report of PC agent Generalao that the Maranaos were going to attack its
buses, petitioner took no steps to safeguard the lives and properties of its
passengers. The seizure of the bus of the petitioner was foreseeable and,
therefore, was not a fortuitous event which would exempt petitioner from
liability.

Bacarro vs. Castano


(GR L-34597, 5 November 1982)
FACTS:
Respondent Castano boarded a jeep driven by Petitioner Montefalcon who
thereafter drove it at around 40 kilometers per hour. While approaching
Sumasap Bridge at the said speed, a cargo truck coming from behind,
blowing its horn to signal its intention to overtake the jeep. The jeep,
without changing its speed, gave way by swerving to the right, such that
both vehicles ran side by side for a distance of around 20 meters.
Thereafter as the jeep was left behind, its driver was unable to return it to
its former lane and instead it obliquely or diagonally ran down an inclined
terrain towards the right until it fell into a ditch pinning down and crushing
Castanos right leg in the process.
Castano filed a case for damages against Rosita Bacarro, William Sevilla,
and Felario Montefalcon. Defendants alleged that the jeepney was
sideswiped by the overtaking cargo truck. After trial, the CFI of Misamis
Oriental ordered Bacarro, et.al. to jointly and severally pay Castano. It was
affirmed by the CA upon appeal.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not there was a contributory negligence on the part of the
jeepney driver.
2. Whether or not extraordinary diligence is required of the jeepney driver.
Whether or not the sideswiping is a fortutious event.
HELD:
1.) Yes. The fact is, petitioner-driver Montefalcon did not slacken his speed
but instead continued to run the jeep at about forty (40) kilometers per hour
even at the time the overtaking cargo truck was running side by side for
about twenty (20) meters and at which time he even shouted to the driver
of
the
truck.
Thus, had Montefalcon slackened the speed of the jeep at the time the
truck was overtaking it, instead of running side by side with the cargo truck,

there would have been no contact and accident. He should have foreseen
that at the speed he was running, the vehicles were getting nearer the
bridge and as the road was getting narrower the truck would be to close to
the jeep and would eventually sideswiped it. Otherwise stated, he should
have slackened his jeep when he swerved it to the right to give way to the
truck because the two vehicles could not cross the bridge at the same.
time.
2.) Yes. x x x [T]he fact is, there was a contract of carriage between the
private respondent and the herein petitioners in which case the Court of
Appeals correctly applied Articles 1733, 1755 and 1766 of the Civil Code
which require the exercise of extraordinary diligence on the part of
petitioner
Montefalcon.
Indeed, the hazards of modern transportation demand extraordinary
diligence. A common carrier is vested with public interest. Under the new
Civil Code, instead of being required to exercise mere ordinary diligence a
common carrier is exhorted to carry the passengers safely as far as human
care and foresight can provide "using the utmost diligence of very cautious
persons." (Article 1755). Once a passenger in the course of travel is
injured, or does not reach his destination safely, the carrier and driver are
presumed to be at fault.
3.) The third assigned error of the petitioners would find fault upon
respondent court in not freeing petitioners from any liability, since the
accident was due to a fortuitous event. But, We repeat that the alleged
fortuitous event in this case - the sideswiping of the jeepney by the cargo
truck, was something which could have been avoided considering the
narrowness of the Sumasap Bridge which was not wide enough to admit
two vehicles. As found by the Court of Appeals, Montefalcon contributed to
the occurrence of the mishap.