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G.R. No.

L-6195 January 17, 1911

N.T. HASHIM and CO., plaintiff-appellant,

ROCHA and CO., defendant-appellee.



That the potatoes, when discharged from the vessel into the lorcha, were in good condition. In
addition to the potatoes discharged into the lorcha, there had been discharged into numerous
cascos several thousand crates of potatoes from the same ship and from the same hold at the
same time. It has been shown by uncontradicted proof that all of the potatoes, except those
found in the lorcha, were in good condition at the time of their discharge. Only those in the
lorcha, after two days of exposure to the heat of the sun, in tightly closed compartments,
without ventilation, were found to be rotted beyond use or value. From the evidence we are
satisfied that the potatoes in question when discharged from the ship into the lorcha were in
good condition

The only witness who seriously questions that fact is the witness Villanueva, who was an
employee of the plaintiff on board the vessel at the time the potatoes were discharged into the
lorcha, and was shortly afterwards discharged the plaintiff. He testified that when so
discharged they were so badly rotted as to be without value. Yet we find that this same
witness, when he made a written report to the plaintiff, his employer, as to the condition of the
potatoes when discharged, therein stated concerning the condition of those potatoes that out
of the 1,085 crates so discharged into the lorcha only 54 crates were in bad condition and a
few were damp. The condition of the potatoes thus described by the written report which he at
the time made to his employer describes a condition usual with potatoes at that time of the
year and about the same as that of the potatoes discharged into the cascos.

Issue: Whether or not the Defendant company (owner of the ship) can be held liable for the
damages sustained by the Plaintiff (Shipper of Potatoes)


The Court held in the affirmative. The defendant company discharged a part of a large
shipment of potatoes into a lorcha, which was then left for two days in the sum, tightly closed
and without ventilation. At the same time several thousand crates of potatoes from the same
shipment were discharged into numerous cascos. The latter were delivered in the usual
condition under the circumstances, but those in the lorcha were rotted and of no use of
value. That the defendant was guilty of gross negligence with respect to the car of the
potatoes on board the lorcha and is liable for the loss resulting therefrom.

The value of the potatoes proved upon the trial was P3.75 a crate, amounting in all to
P4,068.75. Deducting 5 per cent of this sum for the general loss on the whole cargo, there
remains a balance of P3,865.31.

The judgment is reversed and a judgment is hereby given against the defendant and in favor
of the plaintiff for the sum of P3,865.31, with costs of this appeal. So ordered.
G.R. No. 4895. June 15, 1909
W. O. BINGHAM, C. D. SQUIRES, and ALBERT BRYAN, defendants-appellees.

Attorney-General Araneta, for appellant.

W. H. Bishop, for appellees.


1. Firearms; Bond; Penalty; Enforcement After Impossibility of Performance

Without Negligence. — On the 22d day of August, 1906, the said Bingham, with the other
two defendants as sureties, obtained permission from the authorities of the Insular
Government to purchase and keep one revolver and one hundred rounds of ammunition,
with the condition that he would deliver the same to the Government of the Philippine
Islands on demand. Prior to the time when the demand was made for the return of the said
revolver and ammunition, Bingham was engaged in the business of pearl fishing and while
thus engaged a severe storm overtook him, and his boat was sunk in eighty fathoms of
water, through no fault of his or of his crew, and the said revolver and ammunition being
on board, went down and were lost. The violence of the storm was such that neither the
said Bingham nor any member of the crew had time to save the said revolver and
ammunition and it was impossible to recover the same on account of the depth of the sea
wherein they were lost: Held, That an obligation, consisting in the delivery of a specified
thing, shall be extinguished when the said thing shall be lost or destroyed without the fault
of the obligor and before he shall be in default. No one shall be liable for events
(obligations) which could not be foreseen, or which being foreseen were inevitable, with
the exception of cases expressly mentioned in the law, or in those in which the obligation
so declares. In the absence of stipulations to contrary, impossibility of performance,
without the negligence of the parties, prevents the enforcement of bond or contract.

On 22nd day of August 1906, Defendant W.O Bingham was issued a license to purchase one
revolver, Smith & Wesson, caliber .38, No. 154990, and one hundred rounds of ammunition.
The license was issued by the Chief of Police of the city of Manila. As a requirement, he
executed a bond, whereby they acknowledged themselves held and firmly bound unto the
plaintiff in the sum of $200, United States currency, to be paid to said plaintiff; the said bond
was and is subject to the certain condition the plaintiff in the sum of $200, United States
currency, to be paid to said plaintiff; the said bond was and is subject to the certain conditions.
The condition of the bond is that he will safely keep the said arms and each of them, and will
deliver the same to the Government of the Philippine Islands on demand.

On the 18th day of April 1907, the plaintiff demanded of the said W. O. Bingham the delivery
of the aforesaid revolver and ammunition mentioned and described in said bond, but
notwithstanding said demand, the said W. O. Bingham failed to deliver to the plaintiff the
aforesaid revolver and ammunition and has not delivered same. Prior to the said demand, On
the 3rd day of January 1907, Defendant lost the revolver and its ammunition while business of
pearl fishing. He was then aboard his pearling schooner known as the Tamarao about 2 1/2
miles south of the Island of Miripipi. Consequently, there arose a severe storm; that
said schooner was sunk in about 80 fathoms of water through no fault of the said W.
O.Bingham or his crew, and that the said revolver and ammunition, being then and there on
board said schooner, went down with it and were lost.

On the second day of August, 1907, the plaintiff commenced an action in the Court of First
Instance of the city of Manila to recover of the defendants the sum of 200 dollars, United
States currency, basing said action upon a failure on the part of the defendants to perform the
conditions of a certain bond. After considering the agreed facts, the lower court upon the 30th
day of June, 1908, rendered a judgment in favor of the defendants and dismissed said cause,
without making any findings as to costs. Hence this appeal.

Issue: Whether or not Defendant can be held liable for the amount of the bond for failure to
perform his obligation


The Court held in the negative. Under Art. 1182, an obligation, consisting in the delivery of a
specified thing, shall be extinguished when the said thing shall be lost or destroyed without the
fault of the obligor and before he shall be in default. No one shall be liable for events
(obligations) which could not be foreseen, or which being foreseen were inevitable, with the
exception of cases expressly mentioned in the law, or in those in which the obligation so
declares. In the absence of stipulations to contrary, impossibility of performance, without the
negligence of the parties, prevents the enforcement of bond or contract.

There are also other exceptions to the general rule above stated, to-wit: where the existence
of a specific thing is essential to the performance of the contract. If the specific thing essential
to the performance of the contract is destroyed from no fault of either of the parties, such
destruction will operated as a discharge of the parties from their obligation. To illustrate: A
rents of B a hall for the purpose of giving a public concert on a particular day. B obligates
himself to furnish the hall under a penalty. Before the day for the concern the hall is destroyed
by fire, or storm, or earthquake, for which destruction B was in noway responsible. This
illustration covers the facts in the present case. Certainly under this contract A could not
recover any damages from B for his failure to furnish the hall. (Dexter vs. Norton, 47 N. Y., 62;
Stewart vs. Stone, 127 N. Y., 500; Walker vs. Tucker, 70 Ill., 527; "The Tornado," 108 U. S.,
342; Cleary vs. Sohier, 120 Mass., 210; Butterfield vs. Byron, 153 Mass., 517; supreme court
of Spain, July 2, 1899; supreme court of Spain, July 8, 1903; Taylor vs. Caldwell, 3 B. & S.
(Eng. Reps.), 826; Appleby vs. Meyers, Law Reps., 2 Com. Pleas, 651.)

A further exception to the general rule is in contracts which have for their base the rendering
of personal service. Suppose a man should obligate himself in a contract to render some
particular personal service and give a bond for the performance of such service, but, before
the time arrives for the performance of the obligation, the performer dies. Can the person to
whom the obligation runs enforce the bond? This question was presented in the case of
Robinson vs. Davison (Law Reps., 6 Excheq., 269) and Bramwell, J., in answering the
question said (p. 277):

"This is a contract to perform a service which no deputy could

perform and which, in case of death, could not be performed by
the executors of the deceased, and I am of opinion that by virtue
of the terms of the original bargain incapacity of body or mind in
the performer, without default on his part, is an excuse for
nonperformance. The contract must in my judgment be taken to
have been conditional and not absolute."
G.R. No. 10006 September 18, 1915

YAP KIM CHUAN, plaintiff-appellee,

ALFONSO M .TIAOQUI, defendant-appellant.

4. ID.; ID.; FORCE MAJEURE. — Nobody is responsible for such unforeseen and inevitable
occurrences in the case of a fortuitous event or force majeure, unless the law expressly so
states or such responsibility has been expressly stipulated in the obligation.


Under the rate of August 4, 1913, counsel for the plaintiff filed a written complaint in the Court
of First Instance of Manila, alleging as his first cause of action that on March 15, 1913, plaintiff
leased the building at No. 218 Calle Rosario, owned by the defendant, up to December 31 of
the same year, undertaking to pay therefor the sum of P310 from said March 15 to June 30,
1913, and P315 from the subsequent first of July until the termination of the lease; and that on
April 14, 1913, because of the leaks in the roof of the storeroom of said building, without fault
or negligence on the plaintiff's part, some of his merchandise stored in said storeroom was so
wet and damaged as to cause him a loss amounting to P1,169. He set forth as his second
cause of action that subsequent to this occurrence, to wit, on April 15, 1913, a list of the
damaged goods was made out in the presence of the plaintiff, the defendant and a notary
public; that afterwards the defendant expressly authorized the plaintiff to sell he damaged
goods at any price, promising to pay the difference between the selling price and the regular
price of the articles in good condition; that by virtue of said authorization and promise, plaintiff
accordingly disposed of all the damaged goods that could be sold, at a loss of P1,169; and
that notwithstanding the repeated demands made upon him to pay this amount, according to
promise, said defendant had refused and refuses to pay. Therefore, judgment is prayed
against the defendant, sentencing him to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1,169 with legal
interest, and the costs.

On September 3, 1913, defendant filed his answer in writing, admitting certain paragraphs of
the foregoing complaint but specifically denying the rest, and alleging as a special defense
that the building the plaintiff occupies had been recently finished, the construction thereof
having been under the direction and inspection of an engineer, after approval of the plans and
specifications by the engineering and sanitation departments of the city of Manila; that it was
opened for use after acceptation of the work by the city engineer and approval by the said
departments of engineering and sanitation; that about 5 o'clock in the afternoon of April 14,
1913, there fell over the city of Manila a torrential rain the heaviest from the month of January
of that year; that because of the large amount of water and the extraordinary violence of the
downpour many buildings in the Escolta and adjacent business sections, not only many
buildings of wood merely, but even those of reinforced concrete, were flooded by the
overflowing of the drains, gutters, and by filtrations, because the gutters of the eaves and
roofs were inadequate for holding the extraordinarily excessive rainfall on that occasion; that
the wetting the plaintiff's merchandise sustained from that rainfall was not caused wholly by
the leaks and drips but was in large part due to the improper situation or location of said
merchandise inside the building; that in neither case was there fault of negligence on
defendant's part, said occurrence having been unforeseen, or, even being foreseen,
unavoidable; that it is true an inventory of the plaintiff's damaged goods was made in the
presence of the interested parties before a notary public; that said plaintiff presented to the
defendant his claim for the damages sustained, asking the latter to pay them; that the truth is
that the defendant never authorized plaintiff to sell the said merchandise inventoried, as set
forth in the complaint; that it is not the truth the defendant promised, either expressly or tacitly,
to make good to the plaintiff any loss sustained through the difference between the price of
the articles in good condition and the price thereof after being damaged, for, as recorded in
the document drawn up on April 15, 1913, signed by the plaintiff, the defendant's intervention
therein did not signify a tacit acceptance of any liability for the alleged loss sustained by the
plaintiff, but was merely to determine the cause thereof and the manner in which the water got
into the building. As another special defense he alleged that on August 2, 1913, defendant
transferred all his own rights, claims, and obligations in the lease, as well as the absolute
ownership of the building occupied by plaintiff's store, to Señoras Romana, Cecilia, Luisa, and
Maria, of the surname Tantungco y Guepangco who, by agreement set down in the instrument
of transfer, took over all the premises covered by the lease made by the defendant to the
plaintiff from the date thereof, to wit, March 15, 1913, and subsequently they were parties
directly interested in the present suit.

After trial and introduction of the evidence by both parties, the court rendered the judgment
that has been set forth, whereupon defendant saved his exception and filed a written motion
for reopening of the case and a new trial. This motion was denied, with exception on
appellant's part and presentation of the corresponding bill of exceptions, which was approved
and forwarded to the clerk of this court

Issue: whether the owner of a tenement occupied by each of the defendants in the three
cases cited, each in his respective rooms or apartment, is responsible for the deterioration
through the wetting of the cloth and other goods that said plaintiffs as tenants had in same
and its storerooms, as a result of the torrential and extraordinary rain which fell upon the city
for nearly an hour in the afternoon of April 14, 1913.


Defendant's building, composed of four apartments, had just been finished and a few months
ago was inspected by the city engineer and approved for the use for which it was intended.
There is no record that said building presented any indication or sign of having defects in its
roof such as might cause leaks and damage to the merchandise placed therein, to enable the
Chinese contractor Machuca to hand over the same, as finished, the work was previously
approved by the architect who superintended the construction and finally by the city engineer,
who authorized the use and occupancy of the building for leasing, therefore it is to be
presumed, in the absence of proof to the contrary, that the owner who invested many
thousands of pesos in the construction would not have approved or accepted the work on his
building unless he had been convinced that the building, finished by the contractor, and
approved by his architect who superintended the work and by the city engineer, had been
properly construed, and therefore that in leasing it to the plaintiff-tenants he acted in the
greatest good faith; that they on their part, in taking over and occupying the leased premises,
did so satisfied and persuaded that the building was adequate and would serve for the use
they had for it and that it had no defect which would cause any injury or loss to their interests.


The Court held in the negative. A fortuitous event is an accident independent of the
obligor's will to carry out some stipulation and it is plain that for him to escape the
imputation of not performing his obligation he must be placed in a situation arising
from an unforeseen event, or in one where, even if he had foreseen it, still he could not
have avoided it, by reason of the fact that its unexpectedness and inevitability places it
beyond human control.

It was not stipulated in the lease executed between the defendant and the plaintiffs that, if the
goods and merchandise the defendant-tenants might have on the premises should get wet,
the defendant would as lessor thereof be liable to indemnity , nor have the plaintiffs been able
to allege such liability in their claim; and we do not know of any article of the Civil Code
included in the chapter which deals with leasing of urban property that makes any provision
for such liability on the part of the owner of the property.

If, on the said afternoon of April 14, it rained so heavily and so abundantly that the proof of the
building occupied by the plaintiffs, even though in good condition, according to the municipal
architect's certificate, leaked, and if as a consequence of that torrential rainfall said
merchandise of the plaintiffs got wet, the occurrence is not imputable to the lessor owner of
the building, nor according to any evidence in the case to the lessor's fault. Being evidently a
fortuitous event, unforeseeable by any of the litigating parties, inevitable on account of force
majeure, the case discloses no proof of any kind that the defendant Tiaoqui knew that the roof
of the building leased to the plaintiffs had cracks or defects in it that would cause leakages,
just as the plaintiff-tenants did not know that fact themselves, for otherwise they would have
notified the defendant-lessor in due season and demanded repair thereof so as to avoid injury
to their interests.

Nobody, neither the defendant nor the plaintiffs, could have been foreseen that on the said
afternoon of April 14 it was going to rain in torrents and in an extraordinary manner, wherefore
it is neither right nor proper to ascribe the wetting of the merchandise of the plaintiff-tenants to
negligence, carelessness, or fault on the defendant's part. It was a case of accident and force
majeure which could not have been foreseen and which nobody could have prevented, and
the fact that the defendant repaired and fixed the leaks in the roof the next day cannot be
taken as proof of his liability, for he did not know and could not have foreseen that it was going
to rain in torrents the said afternoon and that the roof of the building would leak and show

It would be an absurdity which the law cannot authorize for said tenant to be entitled to claim
damages from the owner because the roof a building leaked and some of the tenant's good
got wet, for no provision of the law relating to leases of urban property places any such
obligation on the owner to pay indemnity for damages, when he himself did not know that
there was any defect to accuse such damages.