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3/8/2017 StMary'sAcademyvsCarpitanos:143363:February6,2002:J.

Pardo:FirstDivision

FIRSTDIVISION

[G.R.No.143363.February6,2002]

ST. MARYS ACADEMY, petitioner, vs. WILLIAM CARPITANOS and LUCIA S.


CARPITANOS,GUADADANIEL,JAMESDANIELII,JAMESDANIEL,SR.,and
VIVENCIOVILLANUEVA,respondents.

DECISION
PARDO,J.:

TheCase

[1]
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals as well as the
resolutiondenyingreconsideration,holdingpetitionerliablefordamagesarisingfromanaccidentthat
resultedinthedeathofastudentwhohadjoinedacampaigntovisitthepublicschoolsinDipologCity
tosolicitenrollment.

TheFacts

Thefacts,asfoundbytheCourtofAppeals,areasfollows:

Claimingdamagesforthedeathoftheironlyson,SherwinCarpitanos,spousesWilliamCarpitanosandLucia
CarpitanosfiledonJune9,1995acaseagainstJamesDanielIIandhisparents,JamesDanielSr.andGuada
Daniel,thevehicleowner,VivencioVillanuevaandSt.MarysAcademybeforetheRegionalTrialCourtof
DipologCity.

On20February1997,Branch6oftheRegionalTrialCourtofDipologCityrendereditsdecisionthedispositive
portionofwhichreadsasfollows:

WHEREFORE,PREMISESCONSIDERED,judgmentisherebyrenderedinthefollowingmanner:

1.DefendantSt.MarysAcademyofDipologCity,isherebyorderedtopayplaintiffsWilliamCarpitanosand
LuisaCarpitanos,thefollowingsumsofmoney:

a. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) indemnity for the loss of life of Sherwin S.
Carpitanos
b.FORTYTHOUSANDPESOS(P40,000.00)actualdamagesincurredbyplaintiffsforburial
andrelatedexpenses
c.TENTHOUSANDPESOS(P10,000.00)forattorneysfees
d. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) for moral damages and to pay
costs.

2.Theirliabilitybeingonlysubsidiary,defendantsJamesDaniel,Sr.andGuadaDanielareherebyorderedto
payhereinplaintiffstheamountofdamagesabovestatedintheeventofinsolvencyofprincipalobligorSt.
MarysAcademyofDipologCity

3.DefendantJamesDanielII,beingaminoratthetimeofthecommissionofthetortandwhowasunderspecial
parentalauthorityofdefendantSt.MarysAcademy,isABSOLVEDfrompayingtheabovestateddamages,
samebeingadjudgedagainstdefendantsSt.MarysAcademy,andsubsidiarily,againsthisparents

4.DefendantVivencioVillanuevaisherebyABSOLVEDofanyliability.Hiscounterclaimnotbeinginorderas
earlierdiscussedinthisdecision,isherebyDISMISSED.

ITISSOORDERED.(Decision,pp.3233Records,pp.205206).

Fromtherecordsitappearsthatfrom13to20February1995,defendantappellantSt.MarysAcademyof
DipologCityconductedanenrollmentdrivefortheschoolyear19951996.Afacetoftheenrollmentcampaign
wasthevisitationofschoolsfromwhereprospectiveenrolleeswerestudying.AsastudentofSt.Marys
Academy,SherwinCarpitanoswaspartofthecampaigninggroup.Accordingly,onthefatefulday,Sherwin,
alongwithotherhighschoolstudentswereridinginaMitsubishijeepownedbydefendantVivencioVillanueva
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ontheirwaytoLarayanElementarySchool,Larayan,DapitanCity.ThejeepwasdrivenbyJamesDanielIIthen
15yearsoldandastudentofthesameschool.Allegedly,thelatterdrovethejeepinarecklessmannerandasa
resultthejeepturnedturtle.

[2]
SherwinCarpitanosdiedasaresultoftheinjurieshesustainedfromtheaccident.
[3]
Induetime,petitionerSt.MarysacademyappealedthedecisiontotheCourtofAppeals.
OnFebruary29,2000,theCourtofAppealspromulgatedadecisionreducingtheactualdamages
[4]
toP25,000.00butotherwiseaffirmingthedecisionaquo,intoto.
On February 29, 2000, petitioner St. Marys Academy filed a motion for reconsideration of the
[5]
decision.However,onMay22,2000,theCourtofAppealsdeniedthemotion.
[6]
Hence,thisappeal.

TheIssues

1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner liable for damages for the death of
SherwinCarpitanos.
2)WhethertheCourtofAppealserredinaffirmingtheawardofmoraldamagesagainstthepetitioner.

TheCourtsRuling

WereversethedecisionoftheCourtofAppeals.
The Court of Appeals held petitioner St. Marys Academy liable for the death of Sherwin
[7] [8]
Carpitanos under Articles 218 and 219 of the Family Code, pointing out that petitioner was
negligentinallowingaminortodriveandinnothavingateacheraccompanytheminorstudentsinthe
jeep.
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall have special parental authority over a
minorchildwhileundertheirsupervision,instructionorcustody:(1)theschool,itsadministratorsand
teachersor(2)theindividual,entityorinstitutionengagedinchildcare.Thisspecialparentalauthority
and responsibility applies to all authorized activities, whether inside or outside the premises of the
school, entity or institution. Thus, such authority and responsibility applies to field trips, excursions
andotheraffairsofthepupilsandstudentsoutsidetheschoolpremiseswheneverauthorizedbythe
[9]
schooloritsteachers.
Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under custody is a minor, those exercising
special parental authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by the acts or
[10]
omissionsoftheunemancipatedminorwhileundertheirsupervision,instruction,orcustody.
However,forpetitionertobeliable,theremustbeafindingthattheactoromissionconsideredas
negligentwastheproximatecauseoftheinjurycausedbecausethenegligencemusthaveacausal
[11]
connectiontotheaccident.

Inorderthattheremaybearecoveryforaninjury,however,itmustbeshownthattheinjuryforwhichrecovery
issoughtmustbethelegitimateconsequenceofthewrongdonetheconnectionbetweenthenegligenceandthe
injurymustbeadirectandnaturalsequenceofevents,unbrokenbyinterveningefficientcauses.Inotherwords,
thenegligencemustbetheproximatecauseoftheinjury.For,negligence,nomatterinwhatitconsists,cannot
createarightofactionunlessitistheproximatecauseoftheinjurycomplainedof.Andtheproximatecauseof
aninjuryisthatcause,which,innaturalandcontinuoussequence,unbrokenbyanyefficientinterveningcause,
[12]
producestheinjury,andwithoutwhichtheresultwouldnothaveoccurred.

In this case, the respondents failed to show that the negligence of petitioner was the proximate
causeofthedeathofthevictim.
RespondentsDanielspousesandVillanuevaadmittedthattheimmediatecauseoftheaccident
wasnotthenegligenceofpetitionerortherecklessdrivingofJamesDanielII,butthedetachmentof
thesteeringwheelguideofthejeep.
In their comment to the petition, respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted the
documentaryexhibitsestablishingthatthecauseoftheaccidentwasthedetachmentofthesteering
wheelguideofthejeep.Hence,thecauseoftheaccidentwasnottherecklessnessofJamesDanielII
but the mechanical defect in the jeep of Vivencio Villanueva. Respondents, including the spouses
Carpitanos,parentsofthedeceasedSherwinCarpitanos,didnotdisputethereportandtestimonyof
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thetrafficinvestigatorwhostatedthatthecauseoftheaccidentwasthedetachmentofthesteering
wheelguidethatcausedthejeeptoturnturtle.
Significantly,respondentsdidnotpresentanyevidencetoshowthattheproximatecauseofthe
accident was the negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving of James Daniel II.
Hence,therespondentsrelianceonArticle219oftheFamilyCodethatthosegiventheauthorityand
responsibilityundertheprecedingArticleshallbeprincipallyandsolidarilyliablefordamagescaused
byactsoromissionsoftheunemancipatedminorwasunfounded.
Further,therewasnoevidencethatpetitionerschoolallowedtheminorJamesDanielIItodrive
thejeepofrespondentVivencioVillanueva.ItwasChedVillanueva,grandsonofrespondentVivencio
Villanueva,whohadpossessionandcontrolofthejeep.He was driving the vehicle and he allowed
JamesDanielII,aminor,todrivethejeepatthetimeoftheaccident.
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor driver or
mechanicaldetachmentofthesteeringwheelguideofthejeep,mustbepinnedontheminorsparents
primarily.ThenegligenceofpetitionerSt.MarysAcademywasonlyaremotecauseoftheaccident.
Betweentheremotecauseandtheinjury,thereintervenedthenegligenceoftheminorsparentsorthe
detachmentofthesteeringwheelguideofthejeep.

Theproximatecauseofaninjuryisthatcause,which,innaturalandcontinuoussequence,unbrokenbyany
[13]
efficientinterveningcause,producestheinjury,andwithoutwhichtheresultwouldnothaveoccurred.

Consideringthatthenegligenceoftheminordriverorthedetachmentofthesteeringwheelguide
ofthejeepownedbyrespondentVillanuevawasaneventoverwhichpetitionerSt.MarysAcademy
hadnocontrol,andwhichwastheproximatecauseoftheaccident,petitionermaynotbeheldliable
forthedeathresultingfromsuchaccident.
Consequently, we find that petitioner likewise cannot be held liable for moral damages in the
amountofP500,000.00awardedbythetrialcourtandaffirmedbytheCourtofAppeals.
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the
[14]
proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or omission. In this case, the proximate cause of
theaccidentwasnotattributabletopetitioner.
Forthereasonthatpetitionerwasnotdirectlyliablefortheaccident,thedecisionoftheCourtof
Appeals ordering petitioner to pay death indemnity to respondent Carpitanos must be deleted.
[15]
Moreover,thegrantofattorneysfeesaspartofdamagesistheexceptionratherthantherule. The
powerofthecourttoawardattorneysfeesunderArticle2208oftheCivilCodedemandsfactual,legal
[16]
and equitable justification. Thus, the grant of attorneys fees against the petitioner is likewise
deleted.
Incidentally, there was no question that the registered owner of the vehicle was respondent
Villanueva.Heneverdeniedandinfactadmittedthisfact.Wehaveheldthattheregisteredownerof
anyvehicle,evenifnotusedforpublicservice,wouldprimarilyberesponsibletothepublicortothird
[17]
personsforinjuriescausedthelatterwhilethevehiclewasbeingdrivenonthehighwaysorstreets.
Hence,withtheoverwhelmingevidencepresentedbypetitionerandtherespondentDanielspouses
thattheaccidentoccurredbecauseofthedetachmentofthesteeringwheelguideofthejeep,itisnot
theschool,buttheregisteredownerofthevehiclewhoshallbeheldresponsiblefordamagesforthe
deathofSherwinCarpitanos.

TheFallo

[18]
WHEREFORE,theCourtREVERSESandSETSASIDEthedecisionoftheCourtofAppeals
[19]
and that of the trial court. The Court remands the case to the trial court for determination of the
liabilityofdefendants,excludingpetitionerSt.MarysAcademy,DipologCity.
Nocosts.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,(Chairman),Kapunan,andYnaresSantiago,JJ.,concur.
Puno,J.,intheresult.

[1]
In CAG.R. CV No. 56728, promulgated on February 29, 2000, Reyes, Jr., J., ponente, Martin, Jr. and Brawner, JJ.,
concurring.
[2]
Rollo,pp.5355.
[3]
DocketedasCAG.R.CVNo.56728.
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[4]
Petition,AnnexA,Rollo,pp.5270.
[5]
Petition,AnnexB,Rollo,pp.7273.
[6]
PetitionfiledonJuly17,2000,Rollo,pp.948.OnJuly16,2001,wegaveduecoursetothepetition,Rollo,pp.202203.
[7]
Article218.TheSchool,itsadministratorsandteachers,ortheindividual,entityorinstitutionengagedinchildcareshall
have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or
custody.Authorityandresponsibilityshallapplytoallauthorizedactivitieswhetherinsideoroutsidethepremisesof
theschool,entityorinstitution.
[8]
Article219.ThosegiventheauthorityandresponsibilityundertheprecedingArticleshallbeprincipallyandsolidarilyliable
for damages caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor.The parents, judicial guardians or the
personsexercisingsubstituteparentalauthorityoversaidminorshallbesubsidiarilyliable.Therespectiveliabilities
ofthosereferredtointheprecedingparagraphshallnotapplyifitisprovedthattheyexercisedtheproperdiligence
requiredundertheparticularcircumstances.
[9]
HandbookOntheFamilyCodeOfthePhilippines,AliciaV.SempioDiy(1997),p.344.
[10]
TheFamilyCodeofthePhilippinesAnnotated,RufusB.Rodriguez(1990),p.505.
[11]
SanitarySteamLaundry,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,360Phil.199,208[1998].
[12]
Cruzv.CourtofAppeals,346Phil.872,886[1997].
[13]
FordPhilippinesv. Citibank, G.R. No. 128604, January 29, 2001 Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Court of Appeals,
326SCRA641,659[2000]Bataclanv.Medina,102Phil.181,186[1957].
[14]
Article2217oftheCivilCode.
[15]
PhiltrancoServiceEnterprises,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,340Phil.98,111[1997].
[16]
Moralesv.CourtofAppeals,340Phil.397,422[1997].
[17]
AguilarSr.v.CommercialSavingsBank,G.R.No.128705,June29,2001Erezov.Jepte,102Phil.103,107[1957].
[18]
CAG.R.No.CVNo.56728.
[19]
InCivilCaseNo.4924.

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