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G.R. No.

L-65295 March 10, 1987


PHOENIX
CONSTRUCTION,
INC.
and
ARMANDO U. CARBONEL, petitioners,
vs.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
and LEONARDO DIONISIO, respondents.
Facts:
In the early morning of 15 November 1975
at about 1:30 a.m. private respondent
Leonardo Dionisio was on his way home he
lived in 1214-B Zamora Street, Bangkal,
Makati from a cocktails-and-dinner meeting
with his boss, the general manager of a
marketing corporation. During the cocktails
phase of the evening, Dionisio had taken "a
shot or two" of liquor. Dionisio was driving his
Volkswagen car and had just crossed the
intersection of General Lacuna and General
Santos Streets at Bangkal, Makati, not far
from his home, and was proceeding down
General Lacuna Street, when his car
headlights (in his allegation) suddenly failed.
He switched his headlights on "bright" and
thereupon he saw a Ford dump truck looming
some 2-1/2 meters away from his car. The
dump truck, owned by and registered in the
name of petitioner Phoenix Construction Inc.,
was parked on the right hand side of General
Lacuna Street (i.e., on the right hand side of a
person facing in the same direction toward
which Dionisio's car was proceeding), facing
the oncoming traffic. The dump truck was
parked askew (not parallel to the street curb)
in such a manner as to stick out onto the
street, partly blocking the way of oncoming
traffic. There were no lights nor any so-called
"early
warning"
reflector
devices
set
anywhere near the dump truck, front or rear.
The dump truck had earlier that evening been
driven home by petitioner Armando U.
Carbonel, its regular driver, with the
permission of his employer Phoenix, in view of
work scheduled to be carried out early the
following morning, Dionisio claimed that he
tried to avoid a collision by swerving his car to
the left but it was too late and his car
smashed into the dump truck. As a result of
the collision, Dionisio suffered some physical
injuries including some permanent facial
scars, a "nervous breakdown" and loss of two
gold bridge dentures.

proximate cause of his injuries was the


negligent manner in which Carbonel had
parked the dump truck entrusted to him by
his employer Phoenix. Phoenix and Carbonel,
on the other hand, countered that the
proximate cause of Dionisio's injuries was his
own recklessness in driving fast at the time of
the accident, while under the influence of
liquor, without his headlights on and without a
curfew pass. Phoenix also sought to establish
that it had exercised due care in the selection
and supervision of the dump truck driver.
The trial court ruled in favor of Dionisio. It
ordered Phoenix and Carbonel to jointly and
severally pay the sum of P15,000 for hospital
bills and the replacement of lost dentures of
plaintiff; P150,000 as loss of expected income
for plaintiff; P10,000 as moral damages,
P10,000 as damages for the wanton disregard
of defendants to settle the case and P4,500
as attorneys fees and cost of suit.
Phoenix and Carbonel appealed to the
Intermediate Appellate Court. The Court
affirmed the decision of the trial court but
reduced the compensatory damages to
P6,460.71; loss of expected income to
P100,000; moral damages to P50,000.
Hence, this petition for review.
Petitioners
Contention:
The
petitioners
Phoenix and Carbonel contend that if there
was negligence in the manner in which the
dump truck was parked, that negligence was
merely a "passive and static condition" and
that
private
respondent
Dionisio's
recklessness constituted an intervening,
efficient cause determinative of the accident
and the injuries he sustained.
Issues:
1. Whether or not Dionisio is negligent. YES
2. Whether or not the negligence of Carbonel
in parking the dump truck was merely a
passive and static condition and not the
legal and proximate cause of the accident.
NO
3. Whether or not Dionisio should be held
liable. NO
4. Whether or not the Doctrine of Last Clear
Chance will apply. NO
Held:

Dionisio filed an action for damages in the CFI


of Pampanga claiming that the legal and

1. Private respondent Dionisio was negligent


the night of the accident. He was hurrying
home that night and driving faster than he
should have been. Worse, he extinguished his
headlights at or near the intersection of
General Lacuna and General Santos Streets
and thus did not see the dump truck that was
parked askew and sticking out onto the road
lane.
Nonetheless, the legal and proximate
cause of the accident and of Dionisio's
injuries was the wrongful or negligent
manner in which the dump truck was
parked in other words, the negligence of
petitioner Carbonel. That there was a
reasonable relationship between petitioner
Carbonel's negligence on the one hand and
the accident and respondent's injuries on the
other hand, is quite clear. Put in a slightly
different manner, the collision of Dionisio's car
with the dump truck was a natural and
foreseeable consequence of the truck driver's
negligence.
2. The truck driver's negligence far from being
a "passive and static condition" was rather an
indispensable and efficient cause. The
collision between the dump truck and
the private respondent's car would in
any probability not have occurred had
the dump truck not been parked askew
without any warning lights or reflector
devices. The improper parking of the
dump truck created an unreasonable risk
of injury for anyone driving down
General Lacuna Street and for having so
created this risk, the truck driver must
be held responsible.
Dionisio's negligence, although later in point
of time than the truck driver's negligence and
therefore closer to the accident, was not an
efficient intervening or independent cause.
What the Petitioners describe as an
"intervening cause" was no more than a
foreseeable consequent manner 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. Dionisio's negligence was not of an
independent and overpowering nature as to
cut, as it were, the chain of causation in fact
between the improper parking of the dump
truck and the accident, nor to sever the juris

vinculum of liability. It is helpful to quote once


more from Professor and Keeton:
Foreseeable Intervening Causes. If the
intervening cause is one which in ordinary
human experience is reasonably to be
anticipated or one which the defendant has
reason to anticipate under the particular
circumstances, the defendant may be
negligence among other reasons, because of
failure to guard against it; or the defendant
may be negligent only for that reason. Thus
one who sets a fire may be required to
foresee that an ordinary, usual and customary
wind arising later wig spread it beyond the
defendant's own property, and therefore to
take precautions to prevent that event. The
person who leaves the combustible or
explosive material exposed in a public place
may foresee the risk of fire from some
independent source. ... In all of these cases
there is an intervening cause combining with
the defendant's conduct to produce the result
and in each case the defendant's negligence
consists in failure to protect the plaintiff
against that very risk.
3. Obviously the defendant cannot be
relieved from liability by the fact that the
risk or a substantial and important part of the
risk, to which the defendant has subjected the
plaintiff
has
indeed
come
to
pass.
Foreseeable
intervening
forces
are
within the scope original risk, and hence
of the defendant's negligence. The
courts are quite generally agreed that
intervening causes which fall fairly in
this category will not supersede the
defendant's responsibility.
Thus it has been held that a defendant will be
required to anticipate the usual weather of
the vicinity, including all ordinary forces of
nature such as usual wind or rain, or snow or
frost or fog or even lightning; that one who
leaves an obstruction on the road or a railroad
track should foresee that a vehicle or a train
will run into it.
We hold that private respondent Dionisio's
negligence was "only contributory," that
the "immediate and proximate cause" of
the injury remained the truck driver's
"lack of due care" and that consequently
respondent Dionisio may recover damages
though such damages are subject to
mitigation by the courts (Article 2179, Civil
Code of the Philippines).

4. The theory of petitioners is that while the


petitioner truck driver was negligent, private
respondent Dionisio had the "last clear
chance" of avoiding the accident and hence
his injuries, and that Dionisio having failed to
take that "last clear chance" must bear his
own injuries alone.
The last clear chance doctrine of the common
law was imported into our jurisdiction by
Picart vs. Smith but it is a matter for debate
whether, or to what extent, it has found its
way into the Civil Code of the Philippines. The
historical function of that doctrine in the
common law was to mitigate the harshness of
another common law doctrine or rule that of
contributory negligence. The common law
rule of contributory negligence prevented any
recovery at all by a plaintiff who was also
negligent, even if the plaintiff's negligence
was relatively minor as compared with the
wrongful act or omission of the defendant.
The common law notion of last clear chance
permitted courts to grant recovery to a
plaintiff who had also been negligent provided
that the defendant had the last clear chance
to avoid the casualty and failed to do so.
Accordingly, it is difficult to see what role, if
any, the common law 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 of the
Philippines.
Under Article 2179, the task of a court, in
technical terms, is to determine whose
negligence the plaintiff's or the defendant's
was the legal or proximate cause of the
injury. That task is not simply or even
primarily an exercise in chronology or physics,
as the petitioners seem to imply by the use of
terms like "last" or "intervening" or
"immediate." The relative location in the
continuum of time of the plaintiff's and the
defendant's negligent acts or omissions, is
only one of the relevant factors that may be
taken into account. Of more fundamental
importance are the nature of the negligent act
or omission of each party and the character
and gravity of the risks created by such act or
omission for the rest of the community. The
petitioners urge that the truck driver should
be absolved from responsibility for his own
prior negligence because the unfortunate
plaintiff failed to act with that increased

diligence which had become necessary to


avoid the peril precisely created by the truck
driver's own wrongful act or omission. To
accept this proposition is to come too close to
wiping out the fundamental principle of law
that a man must respond for the forseeable
consequences of his own negligent act or
omission. Our law on quasi-delicts seeks to
reduce the risks and burdens of living in
society and to allocate them among the
members of society. To accept the petitioners'
pro-position must tend to weaken the very
bonds of society.
Petitioner Carbonel's proven negligence
creates a presumption of negligence on the
part of his employer Phoenix in supervising its
employees properly and adequately. The
respondent appellate court in effect found
that Phoenix was not able to overcome this
presumption of negligence. The circumstance
that Phoenix had allowed its truck driver to
bring the dump truck to his home whenever
there was work to be done early the following
morning, when coupled with the failure to
show any effort on the part of Phoenix to
supervise the manner in which the dump
truck is parked when away from company
premises, is an affirmative showing of culpa in
vigilando on the part of Phoenix.

Case # 13
DY TEBAN TRADING, INC., vs JOSE CHING AND/OR
LIBERTY
FOREST, INC. and CRESILITO M. LIMBAGA,
G.R. No. 161803 February 4, 2008
On July 4, 1995, at around 4:45 a.m., Rogelio Ortiz, with helper
Romeo Catamora, was driving a Nissan van owned by
petitioner Dy Teban Trading, Inc. along the National
Highway in Barangay Sumilihon, Butuan City,
going
to Surigao City.
A Joana Paula passenger bus was cruising on the opposite lane
towards the van.
In between the two vehicles was a parked prime mover with a
trailer, owned by private respondent Liberty Forest, Inc . The
night before the prime mover with trailer suffered a tire
blowout. The driver, private respondent Cresilito Limbaga,
parked the prime mover askew occupying a substantial portion
of the national highway, on the lane of the passenger bus. The
prime mover was not equipped with triangular, collapsible
reflectorized plates, an early warning device required. As
substitute, Limbaga placed a banana trunk with leaves on the
front and the rear portion of the prime mover to warn incoming
motorists.
It is alleged that Limbaga likewise placed kerosene lighted tin
cans on the front and rear of the trailer.[5]
To avoid hitting the parked prime mover occupying its lane, the
incoming passenger bus swerved to the right, onto the lane of
the approaching Nissan van.
Ortiz saw two bright and glaring headlights and the
approaching passenger bus. He pumped his break slowly,
swerved to the left to avoid the oncoming bus but the van hit

the front of the stationary prime mover. The passenger bus hit
the rear of the prime mover.
Petitioner Nissan van owner filed a complaint for
damages[8] against private respondents prime mover
owner and driver with the RTC . The Joana Paula
passenger bus was not impleaded as defendant in the
complaint.
RTC : defendants Liberty Forest, Inc. and Cresilito M. Limbaga
pay, jointly and solidarily, plaintiff Dy Teban Trading, Inc.
-held that the proximate cause of the three-way
vehicular collision was improper parking of the prime mover on
the national highway and the absence of an early warning
device on the vehicle.
CA: reversed the RTC
- held that the proximate cause of the vehicular
collision was the failure of the Nissan van to give way or yield
to the right of way of the passenger bus.
The CA disagreed with the RTC that the prime mover did not
have an early warning device. The appellate court accepted
the claim of private respondent that Limbaga placed kerosene
lighted tin cans on the front and rear of the trailer which,
in Baliwag Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[13] may act as
substitute early warning device.
Issues 1: whether or not prime mover driver Limbaga was
negligent in parking the vehicle; YES
Ruling:
Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides that 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.
To sustain a claim based on quasi-delict, the
following requisites must concur: (a) damage suffered
by plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of defendant; and (c)
connection of cause and effect between the fault or
negligence of defendant and the damage incurred by
plaintiff.

Limbaga was negligent in parking the


prime mover on the national highway; he failed to
prevent or minimize the risk to incoming
motorists.
Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for
the protection of the interests of another person that degree of
care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly
demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.
The test of negligence is objective. We measure the
act or omission of the tortfeasor with that of an ordinary
reasonable person in the same situation. The test, as applied
to this case, is whether Limbaga, in parking the prime
mover, used that reasonable care and caution which an
ordinary reasonable person would have used in the
same situation.
We find that Limbaga was utterly negligent in parking
the prime mover askew on the right side of the national
highway. The vehicle occupied a substantial portion of the
national road on the lane of the passenger bus. It was parked
at the shoulder of the road with its left wheels still on the
cemented highway and the right wheels on the sand and gravel
shoulder of the highway. It is common sense that the skewed
parking of the prime mover on the national road posed a
serious risk to oncoming motorists. It was incumbent upon
Limbaga to take some measures to prevent that risk, or at least
minimize it.
Limbaga also failed to take proper steps to minimize the risk
posed by the improperly parked prime mover. He did not
immediately inform his employer, private respondent Liberty

Forest, Inc., that the prime mover suffered two tire blowouts
and that he could not have them fixed because he had only one
spare tire. Instead of calling for help, Limbaga took it upon
himself to simply place banana leaves on the front and rear of
the prime mover to serve as warning to oncoming
motorists. Worse, Limbaga slept on the prime mover instead of
standing guard beside the vehicle. By his own account,
Limbaga was sleeping on the prime mover at the time of the
collision and that he was only awakened by the impact of the
Nissan van and the passenger bus on the prime mover. [20]
Limbaga also admitted on cross-examination that it
was his first time to drive the prime mover with trailer loaded
with a D-8 caterpillar bulldozer.[21] We find that private
respondent Liberty Forest, Inc. was utterly negligent in
allowing a novice driver, like Limbaga, to operate a
vehicle, such as a truck loaded with a bulldozer, which
required highly specialized driving skills. Respondent
employer clearly failed to properly supervise Limbaga in
driving the prime mover.
The RTC noted that private respondent Liberty Forest,
Inc. also failed to keep the prime mover in proper condition at
the time of the collision. The prime mover had worn out tires. It
was only equipped with one spare tire. It was for this reason
that Limbaga was unable to change the two blown out tires
because he had only one spare.
All told, We agree with the RTC that private
respondent Limbaga was negligent in parking the prime
mover on the national highway. Private respondent
Liberty Forest, Inc. was also negligent in failing to
supervise Limbaga and in ensuring that the prime
mover was in proper condition.
ISSUE 2: whether or not his negligence was the
proximate cause of the damage to the Nissan van. YES

The skewed parking of the prime mover


was the proximate cause of the collision.
cause is defined as that cause, which, in natural and
continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening
cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would
not have occurred. More comprehensively, proximate cause is
that cause acting first and producing the injury, either
immediately or by setting other events in motion, all
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each
having a close causal connection with its immediate
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting
the injury as natural and probable result of the cause which
first acted, under such circumstances that the person
responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent
and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the
moment of his act or default that an injury to some person
might probably result therefrom.[27]
There is no exact mathematical formula to determine
proximate cause. It is based upon mixed considerations of
logic, common sense, policy and precedent. [28] Plaintiff must,
however, establish a sufficient link between the act or omission
and the damage or injury. That link must not be remote or farfetched; otherwise, no liability will attach. The damage or injury
must be a natural and probable result of the act or omission. In
the precedent-setting Vda. de Bataclan v. Medina,[29] this Court
discussed the necessary link that must be established between
the act or omission and the damage or injury, viz.:
It may be that ordinarily, when a
passenger bus overturns, and pins down a
passenger, merely causing him physical
injuries, if through some event, unexpected
and extraordinary, the overturned bus is set
on fire, say, by lightning, or if some
highwaymen after looting the vehicle sets it
on fire, and the passenger is burned to death,
one might still contend that the proximate

cause of his death was the fire and not the


overturning of the vehicle. But in the present
case and under the circumstances obtaining
in the same, we do not hesitate to hold that
the proximate cause of the death of Bataclan
was the overturning of the bus, this for the
reason that when the vehicle turned not only
on its side but completely on its back, the
leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not
unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of
the men with a lighted torch was in response
to the call for help, made not only by the
passengers, but most probably, by the driver
and the conductor themselves, and that
because it was very dark (about 2:30 in the
morning), the rescuers had to carry a light
with them; and coming as they did from a
rural area where lanterns and flashlights were
not available, they had to use a torch, the
most handy and available; and what was
more natural than that said rescuers should
innocently approach the overturned vehicle
to extend the aid and effect the rescue
requested from them. In other words, the
coming of the men with the torch was to be
expected and was natural sequence of the
overturning of the bus, the trapping of some
of its passengers bus, the trapping of some of
its passengers and the call for outside help.
The ruling in Bataclan has been repeatedly cited in
subsequent cases as authority for the proposition that the
damage or injury must be a natural or probable result of the act
or omission. Here, We agree with the RTC that the damage
caused to the Nissan van was a natural and probable result of
the improper parking of the prime mover with trailer.
Private respondents Liberty Forest, Inc. and
Limbaga are liable for all damages that resulted from
the skewed parking of the prime mover. Their liability
includes those damages resulting from precautionary
measures taken by other motorist in trying to avoid
collision with the parked prime mover.
All told, all the elements of quasi delict have been proven by
clear and convincing evidence. The CA erred in absolving
private respondents from liability for the vehicular collision.
SC: RTC reinstated

RHEA CASE

G.R. No. 75112 October 16, 1990


FILAMER CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE ENRIQUE P.
SUPLICO, in his capacity as Judge of the Regional Trial Court,.
Branch XIV, Roxas City and the late POTENCIANO KAPUNAN, SR.,
as substituted by his heirs, namely: LEONA KAPUNAN TIANGCO,
CICERO KAPUNAN, JESUS KAPUNAN, SANTIAGO KAPUNAN,
POTENCIANO KAPUNAN, JR., PAZ KAPUNAN PUBLICO, SUSA
KAPUNAN GENUINO and ERLINDA KAPUNAN
TESORO, respondents.
FACTS:

Private respondent Potenciano Kapunan, Sr., an eighty-two-year old


retired schoolteacher (now deceased), was struck by the Pinoy jeep
owned by petitioner Filamer and driven by its alleged employee,
Funtecha, as Kapunan, Sr. was walking along Roxas Avenue, Roxas
City at 6:30 in the evening of October 20, 1977. As a result of the
accident, Kapunan, Sr. suffered multiple injuries for which he was
hospitalized for a total of twenty (20) days.
Evidence showed that at the precise time of the vehicular accident, only
one headlight of the jeep was functioning. Funtecha, who only had a
student driver's permit, was driving after having persuaded Allan Masa,
the authorized driver, to turn over the wheels to him. The two fled from
the scene after the incident. A tricycle driver brought the unconscious
victim to the hospital.
Thereafter, Kapunan, Sr. instituted a criminal case against Funtecha
alone. Kapunan, Sr. reserved his right to file an independent civil action.
Pursuant to his reservation, Kapunan, Sr. commenced a civil case for
damages before the RTC of Roxas City. Named defendants in the
complaint were petitioner Filamer and Funtecha. Also included was
Agustin Masa, the director and president of Filamer Christian Institute, in
his personal capacity in that he personally authorized and allowed said
Daniel Funtecha who was his houseboy at the time of the incident, to
drive the vehicle in question despite his knowledge and awareness that
the latter did not have the necessary license or permit to drive said
vehicle. His son, Allan Masa, who was with Funtecha at the time of the
accident, was not impleaded as a co-defendant.
ISSUE:

WHETHER OR NOT THE TERM "EMPLOYER" AS USED IN


ARTICLE 2180 IS APPLICABLE TO PETITIONER FILAMER
WITH REFERENCE TO FUNTECHA

RULING:
It is petitioner Filamer's basic contention that it cannot be held
responsible for the tortious act of Funtecha on the ground that there is
no existing employer-employee relationship between them. We agree.
In disclaiming liability, petitioner Filamer has invoked the provisions of
the Labor Code, specifically Section 14, Rule X of Book III which reads:
Sec. 14. Working scholars. There is no employer-employee
relationship between students on the one hand, and schools,
colleges or universities on the other, where students work for the
latter in exchange for the privilege to study free of charge; provided
the students are given real opportunity, including such facilities as
may be reasonable, necessary to finish their chosen court under
such arrangement. (Emphasis supplied).
It is manifest that under the just-quoted provision of law, petitioner
Filamer cannot be considered as Funtecha's employer. Funtecha
belongs to that special category of students who render service to the
school in exchange for free tuition Funtecha worked for petitioner for two
hours daily for five days a week. He was assigned to clean the school
passageways from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. with sufficient time to prepare
for his 7:30 a.m. classes.
The wording of Section 14 is clear and explicit and leaves no room for
equivocation. To dismiss the implementing rule as one which governs
only the "personal relationship" between the school and its students and
not where there is already a third person involved, as espoused by
private respondents, is to read into the law something that was not
legislated there in the first place. But even if we were to concede the
status of an employee on Funtecha, still the primary responsibility for his
wrongdoing cannot be imputed to petitioner Filamer for the plain reason
that at the time of the accident, it has been satisfactorily shown that
Funtecha was not acting within the scope of his supposed employment.
His duty was to sweep the school passages for two hours every morning
before his regular classes. Funtecha was not engaged in the execution
of the janitorial services for which he was employed, but for some
purpose of his own. It is but fair therefore that Funtecha should bear the
full brunt of his tortious negligence. Petitioner Filamer cannot be made
liable for the damages he had caused.

BUT UPON RECONSIDERATION IN:


G.R. No. 75112 August 17, 1992
FILAMER CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE, petitioner,
vs.
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, HON. ENRIQUE P.
SUPLICO, in his capacity as Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch XIV, Roxas City and POTENCIANO KAPUNAN,
SR., respondents.
The private respondents assert that the circumstances obtaining in the
present case call for the application of Article 2180 of the Civil Code
since Funtecha is no doubt an employee of the petitioner. The private
respondents maintain that under Article 2180 an injured party shall have
recourse against the servant as well as the petitioner for whom, at the
time of the incident, the servant was performing an act in furtherance of
the interest and for the benefit of the petitioner.
RULING:
Driving the vehicle to and from the house of the school president where
both Allan and Funtecha reside is an act in furtherance of the interest
of the petitioner-school. Allan's job demands that he drive home the
school jeep so he can use it to fetch students in the morning of the next
school day.
It is indubitable under the circumstances that the school president had
knowledge that the jeep was routinely driven home for the said purpose.
Moreover, it is not improbable that the school president also had
knowledge of Funtecha's possession of a student driver's license and
his desire to undergo driving lessons during the time that he was not in
his classrooms.
In learning how to drive while taking the vehicle home in the direction of
Allan's house, Funtecha definitely was not having a joy ride. Funtecha
was not driving for the purpose of his enjoyment or for a "frolic of his
own" but ultimately, for the service for which the jeep was intended
by the petitioner school. Therefore, the Court is constrained to
conclude that the act of Funtecha in taking over the steering wheel
was one done for and in behalf of his employer for which act the
petitioner-school cannot deny any responsibility by arguing that it
was done beyond the scope of his janitorial duties. The clause
"within the scope of their assigned tasks" for purposes of raising
the presumption of liability of an employer, includes any act done
by an employee, in furtherance of the interests of the employer or
for the account of the employer at the time of the infliction of the
injury or damage. Even if somehow, the employee driving the vehicle
derived some benefit from the act, the existence of a presumptive
liability of the employer is determined by answering the question of
whether or not the servant was at the time of the accident
performing any act in furtherance of his master's business.
Section 14, Rule X, Book III of the Rules implementing the Labor Code,
on which the petitioner anchors its defense, was promulgated by the
Secretary of Labor and Employment only for the purpose of
administering and enforcing the provisions of the Labor Code on
conditions of employment. In other words, Rule X is merely a guide to
the enforcement of the substantive law on labor. The Court, thus, makes
the distinction and so holds that Section 14, Rule X, Book III of the
Rules is not the decisive law in a civil suit for damages instituted
by an injured person during a vehicular accident against a working
student of a school and against the school itself.
The present case does not deal with a labor dispute on conditions of
employment between an alleged employee and an alleged employer. It
invokes a claim brought by one for damages for injury caused by the
patently negligent acts of a person, against both doer-employee and his
employer. Hence, the reliance on the implementing rule on labor to
disregard the primary liability of an employer under Article 2180 of the
Civil Code is misplaced. An implementing rule on labor cannot be
used by an employer as a shield to avoid liability under the
substantive provisions of the Civil Code.

Funtecha is an employee of petitioner Filamer. He need not have an


official appointment for a driver's position in order that the petitioner may
be held responsible for his grossly negligent act, it being sufficient that
the act of driving at the time of the incident was for the benefit of the
petitioner. Hence, the fact that Funtecha was not the school driver or
was not acting within the scope of his janitorial duties does not relieve
the petitioner of the burden of rebutting the presumption juris tantum that
there was negligence on its part either in the selection of a servant or
employee, or in the supervision over him.
The Court reiterates that supervision includes the formulation of
suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of its employees and the
issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public
and persons with whom the employer has relations through his
employees. An employer is expected to impose upon its employees the
necessary discipline called for in the performance of any act
indispensable to the business and beneficial to their employer.
In the present case, the petitioner has not shown that it has set forth
such rules and guidelines as would prohibit any one of its employees
from taking control over its vehicles if one is not the official driver or
prohibiting the driver and son of the Filamer president from authorizing
another employee to drive the school vehicle. Furthermore, the
petitioner has failed to prove that it had imposed sanctions or warned its
employees against the use of its vehicles by persons other than the
driver.
The petitioner, thus, has an obligation to pay damages for injury arising
from the unskilled manner by which Funtecha drove the vehicle. In the
absence of evidence that the petitioner had exercised the diligence of a
good father of a family in the supervision of its employees, the law
imposes upon it the vicarious liability for acts or omissions of its
employees. The liability of the employer is, under Article 2180,
primary and solidary. However, the employer shall have recourse
against the negligent employee for whatever damages are paid to
the heirs of the plaintiff.
For the purpose of recovering damages under the prevailing
circumstances, it is enough that the plaintiff and the private respondent
heirs were able to establish the existence of employer-employee
relationship between Funtecha and petitioner Filamer and the fact that
Funtecha was engaged in an act not for an independent purpose of his
own but in furtherance of the business of his employer. A position of
responsibility on the part of the petitioner has thus been satisfactorily
demonstrated.

G.R. No. 119121 August 14, 1998


NATIONAL
POWER
CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, Fifteenth Division and PHESCO
INCORPORATED, respondents.

FACTS:

A convoy of four (4) dump trucks owned by the National Power


Corporation (NPC) left Marawi city bound for Iligan city. Enroute
to its destination, one of the trucks with plate no RFT-9-6-673
driven by Gavino Ilumba figured in a head-on-collision with a
Toyota Tamaraw. The incident resulted in the death of 3 persons
riding in the Toyota Tamaraw, as well as physical injuries to 17
other passengers.

The heirs of the victims filed a complaint for damages against


NPC and PHESCO Incorporated (PHESCO) before the then CFI of
Lanao del Norte, Marawi City. Defendant PHESCO filed its
answer and contended that it was not the owner of the dump
truck which collided with the Toyota Tamaraw but NPC. It
asserted that it was merely a contractor of NPC with the main
duty of supplying workers and technicians for the latter's
projects.

the same manner and extent as if the latter were


directly employed by him.
In other words, NPC posits the theory that its liability is limited
only to compliance with the substantive labor provisions on
working conditions, rest periods, and wages and shall not
extend to liabilities suffered by third parties.

On the other hand, NPC denied any liability and countered that
the driver of the dump truck was the employee of PHESCO.

The reliance is misplaced. It bears stressing that the


action was premised on the recovery of damages as a
result of quasi-delict against both NPC and PHESCO,
hence, it is the Civil Code and not the Labor Code which
is the applicable law in resolving this case.

After trial on the merits, the trial court absolved NPC of any
liability.

The pronouncement of this Court in Filamer Christian Institute


v. IAC, is most instructive:

PHESCO appealed to the CA, which reversed the trial court's


judgment, finding that the latter is merely as an agent of the
employer since it is a "labor only" contractor and that is an
employer-employee relationship between the owner of the
project and the employees of the "labor only" contractor.

The present case does not deal with a labor dispute


on conditions of employment between an alleged
employee and an alleged employer. It invokes a claim
brought by one for damages for injury caused by the
patently negligent acts of a person, against both doeremployee and his employer. Hence, the reliance on
the implementing rule on labor to disregard the
primary liability of an employer under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code is misplaced. An implementing rule on
labor cannot be used by an employer as a shield to
avoid liability under the substantive provisions of the
Civil Code.

NPC filed an MFR of said decision but was denied.

ISSUE:

Whether or not NPC is the one liable for the damages to the
victims?

RULING:

The Court held that PHESCO was engaged in "labor only"


contracting. It is considered merely an agent of the latter. Since
it is only a "labor-only" contractor, the workers it supplied to
NPC, including the driver of the ill-fated truck, should be
considered as employees of NPC.

However, NPC maintains that even assuming that a "labor only"


contract exists between it and PHESCO, its liability will not
extend to third persons who are injured due to the tortious acts
of the employee of the "labor-only" contractor. It cited Section
9(b), Rule VII, Book III of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the
Labor Code which reads:
(b) Labor only contracting as defined herein is hereby
prohibited and the person acting as contractor shall be
considered merely as an agent or intermediary of the
employer who shall be responsible to the workers in

Given the above considerations, it is apparent that Article


2180 of the Civil Code and not the Labor Code will
determine the liability of NPC in a civil suit for damages
instituted by an injured person for any negligent act of
the employees of the "labor only" contractor. This is
consistent with the ruling that a finding that a contractor was a
"labor-only" contractor is equivalent to a finding that an
employer-employee relationship existed between the owner
(principal contractor) and the "labor-only" contractor, including
the latter's workers.

With respect to the liability of NPC as the direct employer,


Article 2180 of the Civil Code explicitly provides:

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.

In this regard, NPC's liability is direct, primary and


solidary with PHESCO and the driver.

If the judgment for damages is satisfied by NPC, it shall,


however, have recourse against PHESCO and the driver who
committed the negligence which gave rise to the action.

Islands Hospital and later to the Cebu Doctor's


Hospital.

NOTE:

Vasquez died at the Cebu Doctor's Hospital. It was


there that Abad signed an acknowledgment of
Responsible Party (Exhibit K) wherein he agreed to
pay whatever hospital bills, professional fees and
other incidental charges Vasquez may incur.

NPC could have disclaimed any liability had it raised the


defense of due diligence in the selection or supervision of
PHESCO and Ilumba. However, for some reason or another, NPC
did not invoke said defense. Hence, by opting not to present
any evidence that it exercised due diligence in the supervision
of the activities of PHESCO and Ilumba, NPC has foreclosed its
right to interpose the same on appeal in conformity with the
rule that points of law, theories, issues of facts and arguments
not raised in the proceedings below cannot be ventilated for
the first time on appeal. Consequently, its liability stands.

After the police authorities had conducted the


investigation of the accident, a Criminal Case was
filed against Abad but which was subsequently
dismissed for failure to prosecute. So, the present
action for damages was commenced by Vicente
Vasquez, Jr. and Luisa So Vasquez, parents of the
deceased Romeo So Vasquez, against Jose
Benjamin Abad and Castilex Industrial Corporation.
In the same action, Cebu Doctor's Hospital
intervened to collect unpaid balance for the
medical expense given to Romeo So Vasquez. 1
RTC:in favor of private respondents

G.R. No. 132266 December 21, 1999


CASTILEX
INDUSTRIAL
CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
VICENTE VASQUEZ, JR. and LUISA SO
VASQUEZ, and CEBU DOCTORS' HOSPITAL,
INC., respondents.
Facts:
On 28 August 1988, at around 1:30 to 2:00 in the
morning, Romeo So Vasquez, was driving a Honda
motorcycle around Fuente Osmea Rotunda. He
was traveling counter-clockwise, (the normal flow
of traffic in a rotunda) but without any protective
helmet or goggles. He was also only carrying a
Student's Permit to Drive at the time. Upon the
other hand, Benjamin Abad [was a] manager of
Appellant
Castilex
Industrial
Corporation,
registered owner [of] a Toyota Hi-Lux Pick-up with
plate no. GBW-794. On the same date and time,
Abad drove the said company car out of a parking
lot but instead of going around the Osmea
rotunda he made a short cut against [the] flow of
the traffic in proceeding to his route to General
Maxilom St. or to Belvic St.
In the process, the motorcycle of Vasquez and the
pick-up of Abad collided with each other causing
severe injuries to the former. Abad stopped his
vehicle and brought Vasquez to the Southern

CA: affirmed RTC; held ABAD and CASTILEX liable


but held that the liability of the latter is "only
vicarious and not solidary" with the former
ISSUES:
1. WON CA was correct in applying the fifth
paragraph of Article 2180 in the case at
bar. YES
(Petitioner
contends
that
the
fifth
paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code
should only apply to instances where the
employer is not engaged in business or
industry. Since it is engaged in the
business of manufacturing and selling
furniture it is therefore not covered by said
provision. Instead, the fourth paragraph
should apply.)
2. WON Petitioner may be held vicariously
liable for the death resulting from the
negligent operation by a managerial
employee (ABAD) of a company-issued
vehicle. NO, ABAD was engaged in affairs
of his own or was carrying out a personal
purpose not in line with his duties at the
time he figured in a vehicular accident
Ruling:
1. Petitioner's interpretation of the fifth
paragraph is not accurate. The phrase
"even though the former are not engaged
in any business or industry" found in the

fifth paragraph should be interpreted to


mean that it is not necessary for the
employer to be engaged in any business or
industry to be liable for the negligence of
his employee who is acting within the
scope of his assigned task. 5
A distinction must be made between the two
provisions to determine what is applicable. Both
provisions apply to employers: the fourth
paragraph, to owners and managers of an
establishment or enterprise; and the fifth
paragraph, to employers in general, whether or
not engaged in any business or industry. The
fourth paragraph covers negligent acts of
employees committed either in the service of the
branches or on the occasion of their functions,
while the fifth paragraph encompasses negligent
acts of employees acting within the scope of their
assigned task. The latter is an expansion of the
former in both employer coverage and acts
included. Negligent acts of employees, whether or
not the employer is engaged in a business or
industry, are covered so long as they were acting
within the scope of their assigned task, even
though committed neither in the service of the
branches nor on the occasion of their functions.
For, admittedly, employees oftentimes wear
different hats. They perform functions which are
beyond their office, title or designation but which,
nevertheless, are still within the call of duty.
Under the fifth paragraph of Article 2180, whether
or not engaged in any business or industry, an
employer is liable for the torts committed by
employees within the scope of his assigned tasks.
But it is necessary to establish the employeremployee relationship; once this is done, the
plaintiff must show, to hold the employer liable,
that the employee was acting within the scope of
his assigned task when the tort complained of was
committed. It is only then that the employer may
find it necessary to interpose the defense of due
diligence in the selection and supervision of the
employee.

the operation of a motor vehicle, so as to fix


liability upon the employer because of the
employee's action or inaction; but rather, the
result varies with each state of facts. 11
In Filamer Christian Institute v. Intermediate
Appellant Court, 12 this Court had the occasion to
hold that acts done within the scope of the
employee's assigned tasks includes "any act done
by an employee in furtherance of the interests of
the employer or for the account of the employer at
the time of the infliction of the injury or damages."
The court a quo and the Court of Appeals were one
in holding that the driving by a manager of a
company-issued vehicle is within the scope of his
assigned tasks regardless of the time and
circumstances.
We do not agree. The mere fact that ABAD was
using a service vehicle at the time of the injurious
incident is not of itself sufficient to charge
petitioner with liability for the negligent operation
of said vehicle unless it appears that he was
operating the vehicle within the course or scope of
his employment.
To the mind of this Court, ABAD was engaged
in affairs of his own or was carrying out a
personal purpose not in line with his duties
at the time he figured in a vehicular
accident. It was then about 2:00 a.m. of 28
August 1988, way beyond the normal
working hours. ABAD's working day had
ended; his overtime work had already been
completed. His being at a place which, as
petitioner put it, was known as a "haven for
prostitutes, pimps, and drug pushers and
addicts," had no connection to petitioner's
business; neither had it any relation to his
duties as a manager. Rather, using his
service vehicle even for personal purposes
was a form of a fringe benefit or one of the
perks attached to his position.

2. ABAD testified that at the time of the


incident that he was driving a companyissued vehicle, registered under the name
of petitioner. He was then leaving the
restaurant where he had some snacks and
had a chat with his friends after having
done overtime work for the petitioner.

Since there is paucity of evidence that ABAD was


acting within the scope of the functions entrusted
to him, petitioner CASTILEX had no duty to show
that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a
family in providing ABAD with a service vehicle.
Thus, justice and equity require that petitioner be
relieved of vicarious liability for the consequences
of the negligence of ABAD in driving its vehicle.

No absolutely hard and fast rule can be stated


which will furnish the complete answer to the
problem of whether at a given moment, an
employee is engaged in his employer's business in

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the


appealed decision and resolution of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED with the modification that
petitioner Castilex Industrial Corporation be

absolved of any liability for the damages caused


by its employee, Jose Benjamin Abad.

by the strong winds of typhoon Saling, was, within


legal contemplation, due to fortuitous event. YES
RULING:
1.

SOUTHEASTERN COLLEGE, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF


APPEALS, JUANITA DE JESUS VDA. DE DIMAANO,
EMERITA DIMAANO, REMEDIOS DIMAANO, CONSOLACION
DIMAANO and MILAGROS DIMAANO, respondents.
FACTS:
Private respondents are owners of a house at 326 College
Road, Pasay City, while petitioner owns a four-storey school
building along the same College Road. On October 11, 1989, at
about 6:30 in the morning, a powerful typhoon Saling hit Metro
Manila. Buffeted by very strong winds, the roof of petitioners
building was partly ripped off and blown away, landing on and
destroying portions of the roofing of private respondents house.
After the typhoon had passed, an ocular inspection of the
destroyed buildings was conducted by a team of engineers
headed by the city building official, Engr. Jesus L.
Reyna. Pertinent aspects of the latters Report [5] dated October
18, 1989 stated, as follows:
5. One of the factors that may have led to this calamitous
event is the formation of the buildings in the area and the
general direction of the wind. Situated in the peripheral lot is
an almost U-shaped formation of 4-storey building. Thus, with
the strong winds having a westerly direction, the general
formation of the buildings becomes a big funnel-like structure,
the one situated along College Road, receiving the heaviest
impact of the strong winds. Hence, there are portions of the
roofing, those located on both ends of the building, which
remained intact after the storm.
6. Another factor and perhaps the most likely reason for the
dislodging of the roofings structural trusses is the improper
anchorage of the said trusses to the roof beams. The 1/2
diameter steel bars embedded on the concrete roof beams
which serve as truss anchorage are not bolted nor nailed to the
trusses. Still, there are other steel bars which were not even
bent to the trusses, thus, those trusses are not anchored at all
to the roof beams.
It then recommended that to avoid any further loss and
damage to lives, limbs and property of persons living in the
vicinity, the fourth floor of subject school building be declared
as astructural hazard.
Private respondents filed a complaint for damages before the
RTC alleging that the damage to their house which was caused
by plaintiffs rendered the same uninhabitable.
RTC ruled in favor of herein respondents.
CA affirmed.
ISSUE:
1.
2.

WON the petitioner was negligent. NO


whether the damage on the roof of the building of
private respondents resulting from the impact of the
falling portions of the school buildings roof ripped off

Negligence, as commonly understood, is conduct


which naturally or reasonably creates undue risk or
harm to others. It may be the failure to observe that
degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the
circumstances justly demand,[17] or the omission to do
something which a prudent and reasonable man,
guided by considerations which ordinarily regulate the
conduct of human affairs, would do.[

In the present case, other than the said ocular inspection, no


investigation was conducted to determine the real cause of the
partial unroofing of petitioners school building. Private
respondents did not even show that the plans, specifications
and design of said school building were deficient and
defective. Neither did they prove any substantial deviation
from the approved plans and specifications. Nor did they
conclusively establish that the construction of such building
was basically flawed.[21]
On the other hand, petitioner elicited from one of the
witnesses of private respondents, city building official Jesus
Reyna, that the original plans and design of petitioners school
building were approved prior to its construction. Engr. Reyna
admitted that it was a legal requirement before the
construction of any building to obtain a permit from the city
building official (city engineer, prior to the passage of the
Building Act of 1977). In like manner, after construction of the
building, a certification must be secured from the same official
attesting to the readiness for occupancy of the edifice. Having
obtained both building permit and certificate of occupancy,
these are, at the very least, prima facie evidence of the regular
and proper construction of subject school building. [22]
Furthermore, when part of its roof needed repairs of the
damage inflicted by typhoon Saling, the same city official gave
the go-signal for such repairs without any deviation from the
original design and subsequently, authorized the use of the
entire fourth floor of the same building. These only prove that
subject building suffers from no structural defect, contrary to
the report that its U-shaped form was structurally
defective. Having given his unqualified imprimatur, the city
building official is presumed to have properly performed his
duties[23] in connection therewith.
In addition, petitioner presented its vice president for
finance and administration who testified that an annual
maintenance inspection and repair of subject school building
were regularly undertaken.

2.

Art 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by the


law, or when it is otherwise declared by stipulation, or
when the nature of the obligation requires the
assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for
those events which could not be foreseen, or which,
though foreseen, were inevitable.

The antecedent of fortuitous event or caso fortuito is


found in the Partidas which defines it as an event which takes
place by accident and could not have been foreseen. [9] Escriche
elaborates it as an unexpected event or act of God which could
neither be foreseen nor resisted.[10] Civilist Arturo M. Tolentino
adds that [f]ortuitous events may be produced by two general
causes: (1) by nature, such as earthquakes, storms, floods,
epidemics, fires, etc. and (2) by the act of man, such as an

armed invasion, attack by bandits, governmental prohibitions,


robbery, etc.[11]
In order that a fortuitous event may exempt a
person from liability, it is necessary that he be free from
any previous negligence or misconduct by reason of
which the loss may have been occasioned. [12] An act of
God cannot be invoked for the protection of a person who has
been guilty of gross negligence in not trying to forestall its
possible adverse consequences. When a persons negligence
concurs with an act of God in producing damage or injury to
another, such person is not exempt from liability by showing
that the immediate or proximate causeof the damage or injury
was a fortuitous event. When the effect is found to be partly
the result of the participation of man whether it be from active
intervention, or neglect, or failure to act the whole occurrence
is hereby humanized, and removed from the rules applicable to
acts of God.
Here, since petitioner was proven not to be negligent,
hence, Petitioner cannot be made to answer for a purely
fortuitous event.[

[G.R. No. 115024. February 7, 1996]


MA. LOURDES VALENZUELA, petitioner,
vs. COURT OF APPEALS, RICHARD LI and
ALEXANDER
COMMERCIAL,
INC., respondents.
Facts:
This is an action to recover damages based
on quasi-delict, for serious physical injuries
sustained in a vehicular accident.
Plaintiffs version of the accident is as follows:
At around 2:00 in the morning of June 24,
1990, plaintiff Ma. Lourdes Valenzuela was
driving a blue Mitsubishi lancer with Plate No.
FFU 542 from her restaurant at Marcos
highway
to
her
home
at Palanza
Street, Araneta Avenue. She was travelling
along Aurora Blvd. with a companion, Cecilia
Ramon, heading towards the direction
of Manila. Before reaching A. Lake Street, she
noticed something wrong with her tires; she
stopped at a lighted place where there were
people, to verify whether she had a flat tire
and to solicit help if needed. Having been told
by the people present that her rear right tire
was flat and that she cannot reach her home
in that cars condition, she parked along the
sidewalk, about 1 feet away, put on her
emergency lights, alighted from the car, and
went to the rear to open the trunk. She was
standing at the left side of the rear of her car
pointing to the tools to a man who will help
her fix the tire when she was suddenly

bumped by a 1987 Mitsubishi Lancer driven


by defendant Richard Li and registered in the
name of defendant Alexander Commercial,
Inc. Because of the impact plaintiff was
thrown against the windshield of the car of
the defendant, which was destroyed, and then
fell to the ground. She was pulled out from
under defendants car. Plaintiffs left leg was
severed up to the middle of her thigh, with
only some skin and sucle connected to the
rest of the body. She was brought to
the UERM Medical Memorial Center where she
was found to have a traumatic amputation,
leg, left up to distal thigh (above knee). She
was confined in the hospital for twenty (20)
days and was eventually fitted with an
artificial leg.
Defendant Richard Li denied that he was
negligent. However, the lower court found
defendant Richard Li guilty of gross
negligence and liable for damages under
Article 2176 of the Civil Code and held
Alexander Commercial, Inc., Lis employer,
jointly and severally liable for damages
pursuant to Article 2180.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of
the lower court but absolved Lis employer
from liability.
Consequently, both
parties assail
the
respondent courts decision by filing two
separate petitions before this Court. Richard
Li contends that he should not be held liable
for damages because the proximate cause of
the accident was Ma. Lourdes Valenzuelas
own negligence. Alternatively, he argues that
in the event that this Court finds him
negligent, such negligence ought to be
mitigated by the contributory negligence of
Valenzuela. On the other hand, Ma. Lourdes
Valenzuela assails the respondent courts
decision insofar as it absolves Alexander
Commercial, Inc. from liability as the owner of
the car driven by Richard Li and insofar as it
reduces the amount of the actual and moral
damages awarded by the trial court.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Valenzuela was likewise guilty
of contributory negligence in parking her car
alongside Aurora Boulevard, which entire area
Li points out, is a no parking zone. -NO
RULING:

Contributory negligence is conduct on the


part of the injured party, contributing as a
legal cause to the harm he has suffered,
which falls below the standard to which he is
required to conform for his own protection.
Courts have traditionally been compelled to
recognize that an actor who is confronted with
an emergency is not to be held up to the
standard of conduct normally applied to an
individual who is in no such situation. The law
takes stock of impulses of humanity when
placed in threatening or dangerous situations
and does not require the same standard of
thoughtful and reflective care from persons
confronted by unusual and oftentimes
threatening conditions. Under the emergency
rule adopted by this Court in Gan vs Court of
Appeals, an individual who suddenly finds
himself in a situation of danger and is
required to act without much time to consider
the best means that may be adopted to avoid
the impending danger, is not guilty of
negligence if he fails to undertake what
subsequently and upon reflection may appear
to be a better solution, unless the emergency
was brought by his own negligence.
While the emergency rule applies to those
cases in which reflective thought, or the
opportunity
to
adequately
weigh
a
threatening situation is absent, the conduct
which is required of an individual in such
cases is dictated not exclusively by the
suddenness of the event which absolutely
negates thoughtful care, but by the over-all
nature of the circumstances. A woman driving
a vehicle suddenly crippled by a flat tire on a
rainy night will not be faulted for stopping at a
point which is both convenient for her to do
so and which is not a hazard to other
motorists. She is not expected to run the
entire boulevard in search for a parking zone
or turn on a dark Street or alley where she
would likely find no one to help her. It would
be hazardous for her not to stop and assess
the emergency (simply because the entire
length of Aurora Boulevard is a no-parking
zone) because the hobbling vehicle would be
both a threat to her safety and to other
motorists. In the instant case, Valenzuela,
upon
reaching
that
portion
of Aurora
Boulevard close to A. Lake St., noticed that
she had a flat tire. To avoid putting herself
and other motorists in danger, she did what
was best under the situation.

Obviously in the case at bench, the only


negligence ascribable was the negligence of
Li on the night of the accident. Negligence, as
it is commonly understood is conduct which
creates an undue risk of harm to others. It is
the failure to observe that degree of care,
precaution,
and
vigilance
which
the
circumstances justly demand, whereby such
other person suffers injury.
The circumstances established by the
evidence adduced in the court below plainly
demonstrate that Li was grossly negligent in
driving his Mitsubishi Lancer. It bears
emphasis that he was driving at a fast speed
at about 2:00 A.M. after a heavy downpour
had settled into a drizzle rendering the street
slippery. There is ample testimonial evidence
on record to show that he was under the
influence of liquor.

Case # 21

Mercury Drug Corp and Rolando del Rosario vs Spouses Richard


and Carmen Huang and Stephen Huang
G.R. No. 172122 Jun
22 2007
Facts:
Petitioner Mercury Drug Corporation (Mercury Drug) is the
registered owner of a six-wheeler 1990 Mitsubishi Truck with
plate number PRE 641 (truck). It has in its employ petitioner
Rolando J. del Rosario as driver. Respondent spouses Richard
and Carmen Huang are the parents of respondent Stephen
Huang and own the red 1991 Toyota Corolla GLI Sedan with
plate number PTT 775 (car).
These two vehicles figured in a road.
At the time of the accident, petitioner Del Rosario only had a
Traffic Violation Receipt (TVR). His drivers license had been
confiscated because he had been previously apprehended for
reckless driving.
Respondent Stephen Huang sustained massive injuries
to his spinal cord, head, face, and lung. Despite a series
of operations, respondent Stephen Huang is paralyzed
for life from his chest down and requires continuous
medical and rehabilitation treatment.
Respondents fault petitioner Del Rosario for
committing gross negligence and reckless imprudence while
driving, and petitioner Mercury Drug for failing to exercise the
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of its driver.
In contrast, petitioners allege that the immediate and
proximate cause of the accident was respondent Stephen
Huangs recklessness. According to petitioner Del Rosario, he
was driving on the left innermost lane when the car bumped
the trucks front right tire. The truck then swerved to the left,
smashed into an electric post, crossed the center island, and

stopped on the other side of the highway. The car likewise


crossed over the center island and landed on the same portion
of C-5. Further, petitioner Mercury Drug claims that it exercised
due diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of all its employees.
RTC: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding defendants
Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc. and Rolando del Rosario, jointly
and severally liable to pay plaintiffs Spouses Richard Y. Huang
and Carmen G. Huang, and Stephen Huang the following
amounts:
1.

2.

Two Million Nine Hundred


Seventy Three Thousand Pesos
(P2,973,000.00)
actual
damages;
As compensatory damages:
a.

Twenty Three Million Four


Hundred
Sixty
One
Thousand, and Sixty-Two
Pesos (P23,461,062.00) for
life care cost of Stephen;

b.

Ten
Million
Pesos
(P10,000,000.00) as and for
lost or impaired earning
capacity of Stephen;

3.

Four
Million
(P4,000,000.00)
as
damages;

Pesos
moral

4.

Two
Million
Pesos
(P2,000,000.00) as exemplary
damages; and

5.

One
Million
Pesos
(P1,000,000.00) as attorneys
fees and litigation expense.

CA: affirmed the decision of the trial court but


reduced
the
award
of
moral
damages
to
P1,000,000.00.
Hence, this appeal.
ISSUES: 1. w/n MERCURY DRUG CORPORATION FAILED TO
EXERCISE THE DILIGENCE REQUIRED IN SUPERVISING ITS
EMPLOYEES;
2. w/n PETITIONER ROLANDO DEL ROSARIO
WAS NEGLIGENT IN DRIVING THE TRUCK AT
THE TIME OF ACCIDENT.
HELD: Both yes. SC affirmed CA.
The evidence does not support petitioners claim that
at the time of the accident, the truck was at the left inner lane
and that it was respondent Stephen Huangs car, at its right,
which bumped the right front side of the truck. Firstly,
petitioner Del Rosario could not precisely tell which part of the
truck was hit by the car, despite the fact that the truck was
snub-nosed and a lot higher than the car. Petitioner Del Rosario
could not also explain why the car landed on the opposite lane
of C-5 which was on its left side. He said that the car did not
pass in front of him after it hit him or under him or over him or
behind him. If the truck were really at the left lane and the car
were at its right, and the car hit the truck at its front right side,
the car would not have landed on the opposite side, but would
have been thrown to the right side of the C-5 Highway.
Worse still, petitioner Del Rosario further admitted that
after the impact, he lost control of the truck and failed to apply
his brakes. Considering that the car was smaller and lighter
than the six-wheeler truck, the impact allegedly caused by the
car when it hit the truck could not possibly be so great to cause

petitioner to lose all control that he failed to even step on the


brakes.
We therefore find no cogent reason to disturb the
findings of the RTC and the Court of Appeals. The evidence
proves petitioner Del Rosarios negligence as the direct
and proximate cause of the injuries suffered by
respondent Stephen Huang. Petitioner Del Rosario
failed to do what a reasonable and prudent man would
have done under the circumstances.
We now come to the liability of petitioner
Mercury Drug as employer of Del Rosario. Articles 2176
and 2180 of the Civil Code 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 a quasi-delict and is governed by the
provisions of this Chapter.
Art. 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.
xxx
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.
xxx
The liability of the employer under Art. 2180 of
the Civil Code is direct or immediate. It is not
conditioned on a prior recourse against the negligent
employee, or a prior showing of insolvency of such
employee. It is also joint and solidary with the
employee.
To be relieved of liability, petitioner Mercury Drug
should show that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a
family, both in the selection of the employee and in the
supervision of the performance of his duties. Thus, in the
selection of its prospective employees, the employer is
required to examine them as to their qualifications, experience,
and service records. With respect to the supervision of its
employees, the employer should formulate standard operating
procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose
disciplinary measures for their breach. To establish compliance
with these requirements, employers must submit concrete
proof, including documentary evidence.
In the instant case, petitioner Mercury Drug presented
testimonial evidence on its hiring procedure. According to Mrs.
Merlie Caamic, the Recruitment and Training Manager of
petitioner Mercury Drug, applicants are required to take
theoretical and actual driving tests, and psychological
examination. In the case of petitioner Del Rosario, however,
Mrs. Caamic admitted that he took the driving tests and
psychological examination when he applied for the position of
Delivery Man, but not when he applied for the position of Truck
Man. Mrs. Caamic also admitted that petitioner Del Rosario
used a Galant which is a light vehicle, instead of a truck during
the driving tests. Further, no tests were conducted on the
motor skills development, perceptual speed, visual attention,
depth visualization, eye and hand coordination and steadiness
of petitioner Del Rosario. No NBI and police clearances were
also presented. Lastly, petitioner Del Rosario attended only
three driving seminars on June 30, 2001, February 5, 2000 and

July 7, 1984. In effect, the only seminar he attended before the


accident which occurred in 1996 was held twelve years ago in
1984.
It also appears that petitioner Mercury Drug does not
provide for a back-up driver for long trips. At the time of the
accident, petitioner Del Rosario has been out on the road for
more than thirteen hours, without any alternate. Mrs. Caamic
testified that she does not know of any company policy
requiring back-up drivers for long trips.
Petitioner Mercury Drug likewise failed to show that it
exercised due diligence on the supervision and discipline over
its employees. In fact, on the day of the accident, petitioner Del
Rosario was driving without a license. He was holding a TVR for

reckless driving. He testified that he reported the incident to


his superior, but nothing was done about it. He was not
suspended or reprimanded.No disciplinary action whatsoever
was taken against petitioner Del Rosario. We therefore affirm
the finding that petitioner Mercury Drug has failed to
discharge its burden of proving that it exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employee, petitioner Del Rosario.

RHEA CASE