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JOSEFA v. MANILA ELECTRIC CO.

G.R. No. 182705

Date of Promulgation: July 18, 2014


Ponente: Brion, J.
Petitioner: Vicente Josefa
Respondent: Manila Electric Co.

Rules:
1. Elements of a quasi-delict:
a. Damages to the complainant;
b. Negligence, by act or omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose acts the
defendant must respond; and
c. The connection of cause and effect between such negligence and the damages.

2. SC: The procedural effect of res ipsa loquitur in quasi-delict cases is that defendant’s negligence is
presumed. In other words, the burden of evidence shifts to the defendant to prove that he did not act
with negligence.

3. Requirements for application of res ipsa loquitur:


a. The accident is of a kind that ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone's
negligence;
b. It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or
defendants; and
c. The possibility of contributing conduct that would make the plaintiff responsible is
eliminated.

Facts:
1. On April 21, 1991, a dump truck registered in Vicente Josefa’s name figured in a vehicular accident
with a jeepney and a car in Ortigas Ave.
2. As a result of the accident, a 45-foot wooden electricity post, three 75 KVA transformers, and other
electrical line attachments were damaged.
3. In its complaint for damages, Meralco offered the following evidence:
a. Testimony of Juan Fernandez, Meralco’s senior legal investigator, who learned from people
in the vicinity and SPO2 Alexander Galang that the truck, which was owned by Josefa,
rammed the post.
b. Testimony of Elmer Albio, the driver of the jeepney involved in the accident, who saw the
truck hit the post.
4. Josefa filed a demurrer to evidence but was denied by the Pasig RTC.

Ratio (Application of Rules to Facts):


1. The truck is proven to have hit the electricity post (Rule 1). In the first place, Josefa failed to impeach
the veracity of Albio’s statement that the latter saw the truck hit the post. More importantly, Josefa
judicially admitted in his motions and pleadings that it was his truck that crashed into the said post.

2. Bautista, the truck’s driver, is presumed to be negligent under res ipsa loquitur (Rules 2-3). It is very
unusual for the truck to hit an electricity post, an immovable and stationary object, unless Bautista,
who had the exclusive management and control of the truck, acted with fault or negligence. In his
pleadings, Josefa raised the possibility that it was the fault or negligence of the jeepney and/or the
car drivers that was the proximate cause of the damage. However, he did not substantiate this theory,
considering that the burden of evidence had shifted against him after Meralco proved that his truck
hit the post.