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NAGUIAT vs NLRC 2. SFNEI is not liable jointly or severally with CFTI.

SFNEI has nothing

to do with CFTI. There is no sufficient evidence to prove that it actively
managed CFTI especially so when even the drivers testified that their
employer is CFTI and that their payroll comes from CFTI. Further,
Sergio Naguiat was the president of Clark Field Taxi, Inc. (CFTI) which
SFNEI was into trading business while CFTI was into taxi services.
supplied taxi services to Clark Air Base. At the same time, Naguiat was a
director of the Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Inc. (SFNEI), their family owned
Petitioner CFTI held a concessionaire's contract with the Army Air Force
corporation along with CFTI.
Exchange Services ("AAFES") for the operation of taxi services within Clark
In 1991, CFTI had to close due to “great financial losses and lost business Air Base. Sergio F. Naguiat was CFTI's president, while Antolin T. Naguiat was
opportunity” resulting from the phase-out of Clark Air Base brought about by its vice-president. Like Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Incorporated ("Naguiat
the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the expiration of the RP-US military bases Enterprises"), a trading firm, it was a family-owned corporation.
Individual respondents were previously employed by CFTI as taxicab drivers.
CFTI then came up with an agreement with the drivers that the latter be entitled During their employment, they were required to pay a daily "boundary fee" in
to a separation pay in the amount of P500.00 per every year of service. Most of the amount of US$26.50 for those working from 1:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and
the drivers accepted this but some drivers did not. The drivers who refused to US$27.00 for those working from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight. All incidental
accept the separation pay offered by CFTI instead sued the latter before the labor expenses for the maintenance of the vehicles they were driving were accounted
arbiter. against them, including gasoline expenses.
The labor arbiter ruled in favor of the taxi drivers. The National Labor Relations
Commission affirmed the labor arbiter. It was established that when CFTI The drivers worked at least three to four times a week, depending on the
closed, it was in profitable standing and was not incurring losses. It ruled that the availability of taxicabs. They earned not less than US$15.00 daily.
drivers are entitled to $120.00 per every year of service subject to exchange rates
prevailing that time. In excess of that amount, however, they were required to make cash deposits to
the company, which they could later withdraw every fifteen days.
The NLRC likewise ruled that SFNEI as well as CFTI’s president and vice
president Sergio Naguiat and Antolin Naguiat should be held jointly and
severally liable to pay the drivers. The NLRC ruled that SFNEI actively Due to the phase-out of the US military bases in the Philippines, from which
managed CFTI and its business affairs hence it acted as the employer of the Clark Air Base was not spared, the AAFES was dissolved, and the services of
drivers. individual respondents were officially terminated on November 26, 1991.

ISSUE: Whether or not the ruling of the NLRC is correct. The AAFES Taxi Drivers Association ("drivers' union"), through its local
president, Eduardo Castillo, and CFTI held negotiations as regards separation
HELD: It is only partially correct.
benefits that should be awarded in favor of the drivers. They arrived at an
1. It is correct when it ruled that the Sergio Naguiat is jointly and agreement that the separated drivers will be given P500.00 for every year of
severally liable to pay the drivers the award of separation pay in the service as severance pay. Most of the drivers accepted said amount in December
amount so determined. As president of CFTI, Sergio Naguiat is 1991 and January 1992. However, individual respondents herein refused to
considered an “employer” of the dismissed employees who is therefore accept theirs.
liable for the obligations of the corporation to its dismissed employees.
Moreover, CFTI, being a close family corporation, is liable for Instead, after disaffiliating themselves from the drivers' union, individual
corporate torts and stockholders thereof shall be personally liable for respondents, through the National Organization of Workingmen ("NOWM"), a
corporate torts unless the corporation has obtained reasonably adequate labor organization which they subsequently joined, filed a complaint5against
liability insurance (par. 5, Section 100, “Close Corporations”, "Sergio F. Naguiat doing business under the name and style Sergio F. Naguiat
Corporation Code). Antolin Naguiat is absolved because there was Enterprises, Inc., Army-Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) with Mark
insufficient evidence as against him. Hooper as Area Service Manager, Pacific Region, and AAFES Taxi Drivers

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Association with Eduardo Castillo as President," for payment of separation pay to the private respondents. The concluding paragraphs of the NLRC Resolution
due to termination/phase-out. Said complaint was later amended6 to include read:
additional taxi drivers who were similarly situated as complainants, and CFTI
with Antolin T. Naguiat as vice president and general manager, as party The contention of complainant is partly correct. One-half month salary should be
respondent. US$120.00 but this amount can not be paid to the complainant in U.S. Dollar
which is not the legal tender in the Philippines. Paras, in commenting on Art.
In their complaint, herein private respondents alleged that they were regular 1249 of the New Civil Code, defines legal tender as "that which a debtor may
employees of Naguiat Enterprises, although their individual applications for compel a creditor to accept in payment of the debt. The complainants who are
employment were approved by CFTI. They claimed to have been assigned to the creditors in this instance can be compelled to accept the Philippine peso
Naguiat Enterprises after having been hired by CFTI, and that the former thence which is the legal tender, in which case, the table of conversion (exchange rate)
managed, controlled and supervised their employment. They averred further that at the time of payment or satisfaction of the judgment should be used. However,
they were entitled to separation pay based on their latest daily earnings of since the choice is left to the debtor, (respondents) they may choose to pay in US
US$15.00 for working sixteen (16) days a month. dollar." (Phoenix Assurance Co. vs. Macondray & Co. Inc., L-25048, May 13,
In their position paper submitted to the labor arbiter, herein petitioners claimed
that the cessation of business of CFTI on November 26, 1991, was due to "great In discharging the above obligations, Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, which is
financial losses and lost business opportunity" resulting from the phase-out of headed by Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin Naguiat, father and son at the same
Clark Air Base brought about by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the expiration of time the President and Vice-President and General Manager, respectively, should
the RP-US military bases agreement. They admitted that CFTI had agreed with be joined as indispensable party whose liability is joint and several. (Sec. 7, Rule
the drivers' union, through its President Eduardo Castillo who claimed to have 3, Rules of Court)8
had blanket authority to negotiate with CFTI in behalf of union members, to
grant its taxi driver-employees separation pay equivalent to P500.00 for every As mentioned earlier, the motion for reconsideration of herein petitioners was
year of service. denied by the NLRC. Hence, this petition with prayer for issuance of a
temporary restraining order. Upon posting by the petitioners of a surety bond, a
The labor arbiter, finding the individual complainants to be regular workers of temporary restraining order9 was issued by this Court enjoining execution of the
CFTI, ordered the latter to pay them P1,200.00 for every year of service "for assailed Resolutions.
humanitarian consideration," setting aside the earlier agreement between CFTI
and the drivers' union of P500.00 for every year of service. The labor arbiter VINZONS-CHATO vs FORTUNE
rejected the allegation of CFTI that it was forced to close business due to "great
financial losses and lost business opportunity" since, at the time it ceased FACTS:
operations, CFTI was profitably earning and the cessation of its business was
due to the untimely closure of Clark Air Base. In not awarding separation pay in This is a case for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code filed by Fortune
accordance with the Labor Code, the labor arbiter explained: against Liwayway as CIR.

To allow respondents exemption from its (sic) obligation to pay separation pay On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which provided that locally
would be inhuman to complainants but to impose a monetary obligation to an manufactured cigarettes which are currently classified and taxed at 55% shall be
employer whose profitable business was abruptly shot (sic) down by force charged an ad valorem tax of “55% provided that the maximum tax shall not be
majeure would be unfair and unjust to say the least.7 less than Five Pesos per pack.” Prior to effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued
a rule, reclassifying “Champion,” “Hope,” and “More” (all manufactured by
and thus, simply awarded an amount for "humanitarian consideration." Fortune) as locally manufactured cigarettes bearing foreign brand subject to the
55% ad valorem tax. Thus, when RA 7654 was passed, these cigarette brands
were already covered.
Herein individual private respondents appealed to the NLRC. In its Resolution,
the NLRC modified the decision of the labor arbiter by granting separation pay

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In a case filed against Liwayway with the RTC, Fortune contended that the under Article 32 of the Civil Code even if his acts were not so tainted with
issuance of the rule violated its constitutional right against deprivation of malice or bad faith.
property without due process of law and the right to equal protection of the laws.
Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in
For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to dismiss that respondent has his/her private capacity for acts done in the course of the performance of the
no cause of action against her because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance functions of the office, where said public officer: (1) acted with malice, bad
of her official function and within the scope of her authority. She claimed that faith, or negligence; or (2) where the public officer violated a constitutional right
she acted merely as an agent of the Republic and therefore the latter is the one of the plaintiff.
responsible for her acts. She also contended that the complaint states no cause of
action for lack of allegation of malice or bad faith. On the second issue, SC ruled that the decisive provision is Article 32, it being a
special law, which prevails over a general law (the Administrative Code).
The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to the CA, who dismissed
the case on the ground that under Article 32, liability may arise even if the Article 32 was patterned after the “tort” in American law. A tort is a wrong, a
defendant did not act with malice or bad faith. tortious act which has been defined as the commission or omission of an act by
one, without right, whereby another receives some injury, directly or indirectly,
Hence this appeal. in person, property or reputation. There are cases in which it has been stated that
civil liability in tort is determined by the conduct and not by the mental state of
ISSUES: the tortfeasor, and there are circumstances under which the motive of the
defendant has been rendered immaterial. The reason sometimes given for the
◦ Whether or not a public officer may be validly sued in his/her rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged wrongdoer, and not the
private capacity for acts done in connection with the discharge of act itself, would determine whether the act was wrongful. Presence of good
the functions of his/her office motive, or rather, the absence of an evil motive, does not render lawful an act
◦ Whether or not Article 32, NCC, should be applied instead of Sec. which is otherwise an invasion of another’s legal right; that is, liability in tort in
38, Book I, Administrative Code not precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.

HELD: Petitioner assails the May 7, 1999 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 47167, which affirmed the September 29, 1997 Order2 of the Regional
On the first issue, the general rule is that a public officer is not liable for Trial Court (RTC) of Marikina, Branch 272, in Civil Case No. 97-341-MK,
damages which a person may suffer arising from the just performance of his denying petitioner’s motion to dismiss. The complaint filed by respondent
official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks. An officer who acts sought to recover damages for the alleged violation of its constitutional rights
within his authority to administer the affairs of the office which he/she heads is arising from petitioner’s issuance of Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 37-93
not liable for damages that may have been caused to another, as it would (RMC 37-93), which the Court declared invalid in Commissioner of Internal
virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment Revenue v. Court of Appeals.3
for monetary claims without its consent. However, a public officer is by law not
immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith Petitioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato was then the Commissioner of Internal
which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the Revenue while respondent Fortune Tobacco Corporation is an entity engaged in
mantle of immunity for official actions. the manufacture of different brands of cigarettes, among which are "Champion,"
"Hope," and "More" cigarettes.
Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, civil liability may arise
where there is bad faith, malice, or gross negligence on the part of a superior
On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted Republic Act No. 7654 (RA 7654),
public officer. And, under Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil liability may arise
which took effect on July 3, 1993. Prior to its effectivity, cigarette brands
where the subordinate public officer’s act is characterized by willfulness or
‘Champion," "Hope," and "More" were considered local brands subjected to an
negligence. In Cojuangco, Jr. V. CA, a public officer who directly or indirectly
ad valorem tax at the rate of 20-45%. However, on July 1, 1993, or two days
violates the constitutional rights of another, may be validly sued for damages
before RA 7654 took effect, petitioner issued RMC 37-93 reclassifying
"Champion," "Hope," and "More" as locally manufactured cigarettes bearing a
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foreign brand subject to the 55% ad valorem tax.4 RMC 37-93 in effect that the defect in the certification against forum shopping was cured by
subjected "Hope," "More," and "Champion" cigarettes to the provisions of RA respondent’s submission of the corporate secretary’s certificate authorizing its
7654, specifically, to Sec. 142,5 (c)(1) on locally manufactured cigarettes which counsel to execute the certification against forum shopping. The dispositive
are currently classified and taxed at 55%, and which imposes portion thereof, states:
an ad valorem tax of "55% provided that the minimum tax shall not be less than
Five Pesos (P5.00) per pack."6 WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the motion to dismiss filed by
the defendant Liwayway Vinzons-Chato and the motion to strike out and
On July 2, 1993, at about 5:50 p.m., BIR Deputy Commissioner Victor A. expunge from the record the said motion to dismiss filed by plaintiff Fortune
Deoferio, Jr. sent via telefax a copy of RMC 37-93 to Fortune Tobacco but it was Tobacco Corporation are both denied on the grounds aforecited. The defendant is
addressed to no one in particular. On July 15, 1993, Fortune Tobacco received, ordered to file her answer to the complaint within ten (10) days from receipt of
by ordinary mail, a certified xerox copy of RMC 37-93. On July 20, 1993, this Order.
respondent filed a motion for reconsideration requesting the recall of RMC
37-93, but was denied in a letter dated July 30, 1993.7 The same letter assessed SO ORDERED.13
respondent for ad valorem tax deficiency amounting to P9,598,334.00
(computed on the basis of RMC 37-93) and demanded payment within 10 days
The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari under
from receipt thereof.8 On August 3, 1993, respondent filed a petition for review
Rule 65. However, same was dismissed on the ground that under Article 32 of
with the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), which on September 30, 1993, issued an
the Civil Code, liability may arise even if the defendant did not act with malice
injunction enjoining the implementation of RMC 37-93.9 In its decision dated
or bad faith. The appellate court ratiocinated that Section 38, Book I of the
August 10, 1994, the CTA ruled that RMC 37-93 is defective, invalid, and
Administrative Code is the general law on the civil liability of public officers
unenforceable and further enjoined petitioner from collecting the deficiency tax
while Article 32 of the Civil Code is the special law that governs the instant
assessment issued pursuant to RMC No. 37-93. This ruling was affirmed by the
case. Consequently, malice or bad faith need not be alleged in the complaint for
Court of Appeals, and finally by this Court in Commissioner of Internal Revenue
damages. It also sustained the ruling of the RTC that the defect of the
v. Court of Appeals.10 It was held, among others, that RMC 37-93, has fallen
certification against forum shopping was cured by the submission of the
short of the requirements for a valid administrative issuance.
corporate secretary’s certificate giving authority to its counsel to execute the
On April 10, 1997, respondent filed before the RTC a complaint11 for damages
against petitioner in her private capacity. Respondent contended that the latter
Undaunted, petitioner filed the instant recourse contending that the suit is
should be held liable for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code considering
grounded on her acts done in the performance of her functions as a public
that the issuance of RMC 37-93 violated its constitutional right against
officer, hence, it is Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code which should
deprivation of property without due process of law and the right to equal
be applied. Under this provision, liability will attach only when there is a clear
protection of the laws.
showing of bad faith, malice, or gross negligence. She further averred that the
Civil Code, specifically, Article 32 which allows recovery of damages for
Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss12 contending that: (1) respondent has no violation of constitutional rights, is a general law on the liability of public
cause of action against her because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of officers; while Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code is a special law on
her official function and within the scope of her authority. She claimed that she the superior public officers’ liability, such that, if the complaint, as in the instant
acted merely as an agent of the Republic and therefore the latter is the one case, does not allege bad faith, malice, or gross negligence, the same is
responsible for her acts; (2) the complaint states no cause of action for lack of dismissible for failure to state a cause of action. As to the defect of the
allegation of malice or bad faith; and (3) the certification against forum shopping certification against forum shopping, she urged the Court to strictly construe the
was signed by respondent’s counsel in violation of the rule that it is the plaintiff rules and to dismiss the complaint.
or the principal party who should sign the same.
Conversely, respondent argued that Section 38 which treats in general the public
On September 29, 1997, the RTC denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss holding officers’ "acts" from which civil liability may arise, is a general law; while
that to rule on the allegations of petitioner would be to prematurely decide the Article 32 which deals specifically with the public officers’ violation of
merits of the case without allowing the parties to present evidence. It further held constitutional rights, is a special provision which should determine whether the
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complaint states a cause of action or not. Citing the case of Lim v. Ponce de xxxx
Leon,14 respondent alleged that under Article 32 of the Civil Code, it is enough
that there was a violation of the constitutional rights of the plaintiff and it is not Section 39. Liability of Subordinate Officers. – No subordinate officer or
required that said public officer should have acted with malice or in bad faith. employee shall be civilly liable for acts done by him in good faith in the
Hence, it concluded that even granting that the complaint failed to allege bad performance of his duties. However, he shall be liable for willful or negligent
faith or malice, the motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action should acts done by him which are contrary to law, morals, public policy and good
be denied inasmuch as bad faith or malice are not necessary to hold petitioner customs even if he acts under orders or instructions of his superior.
In addition, the Court held in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,18 that a public
The issues for resolution are as follows: officer who directly or indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another,
may be validly sued for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code even if his
(1) May a public officer be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done acts were not so tainted with malice or bad faith.
in connection with the discharge of the functions of his/her office?
Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in
(2) Which as between Article 32 of the Civil Code and Section 38, Book I of the his/her private capacity for acts done in the course of the performance of the
Administrative Code should govern in determining whether the instant functions of the office, where said public officer: (1) acted with malice, bad
complaint states a cause of action? faith, or negligence; or (2) where the public officer violated a constitutional right
of the plaintiff.
(3) Should the complaint be dismissed for failure to comply with the rule on
certification against forum shopping? Anent the second issue, we hold that the complaint filed by respondent stated a
cause of action and that the decisive provision thereon is Article 32 of the Civil
(4) May petitioner be held liable for damages? Code.

On the first issue, the general rule is that a public officer is not liable for A general statute is one which embraces a class of subjects or places and does
damages which a person may suffer arising from the just performance of his not omit any subject or place naturally belonging to such class. A special statute,
official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks.15 An officer who acts as the term is generally understood, is one which relates to particular persons or
within his authority to administer the affairs of the office which he/she heads is things of a class or to a particular portion or section of the state only.19
not liable for damages that may have been caused to another, as it would
virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment A general law and a special law on the same subject are statutes in pari
for monetary claims without its consent.16 However, a public officer is by law materia and should, accordingly, be read together and harmonized, if possible,
not immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith with a view to giving effect to both. The rule is that where there are two acts, one
which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the of which is special and particular and the other general which, if standing alone,
mantle of immunity for official actions.17 would include the same matter and thus conflict with the special act, the special
law must prevail since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than that of a
Specifically, under Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code, civil liability general statute and must not be taken as intended to affect the more particular
may arise where there is bad faith, malice, or gross negligence on the part of a and specific provisions of the earlier act, unless it is absolutely necessary so to
superior public officer. And, under Section 39 of the same Book, civil liability construe it in order to give its words any meaning at all.20
may arise where the subordinate public officer’s act is characterized by
willfulness or negligence. Thus – The circumstance that the special law is passed before or after the general act
does not change the principle. Where the special law is later, it will be regarded
Sec. 38. Liability of Superior Officers. – (1) A public officer shall not be civilly as an exception to, or a qualification of, the prior general act; and where the
liable for acts done in the performance of his official duties, unless there is a general act is later, the special statute will be construed as remaining an
clear showing of bad faith, malice or gross negligence. exception to its terms, unless repealed expressly or by necessary implication.21

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Thus, in City of Manila v. Teotico,22 the Court held that Article 2189 of the Civil general law because it applies universally to all local governments. Blackstone
Code which holds provinces, cities, and municipalities civilly liable for death or defines general law as a universal rule affecting the entire community and
injuries by reason of defective conditions of roads and other public works, is a special law as one relating to particular persons or things of a class. And the rule
special provision and should prevail over Section 4 of Republic Act No. 409, the commonly said is that a prior special law is not ordinarily repealed by a
Charter of Manila, in determining the liability for defective street conditions. subsequent general law. The fact that one is special and the other general creates
Under said Charter, the city shall not be held for damages or injuries arising a presumption that the special is to be considered as remaining an exception of
from the failure of the local officials to enforce the provision of the charter, law, the general, one as a general law of the land, the other as the law of a particular
or ordinance, or from negligence while enforcing or attempting to enforce the case. However, the rule readily yields to a situation where the special statute
same. As explained by the Court: refers to a subject in general, which the general statute treats in particular.
Th[is] exactly is the circumstance obtaining in the case at bar. Section 17 of
Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the latter, the Revised Charter of the City of Manila speaks of "ordinance" in general,
because Republic Act 409 is a special law, intended exclusively for the City of i.e., irrespective of the nature and scope thereof, whereas, Section 43 of the
Manila, whereas the Civil Code is a general law, applicable to the entire Local Tax Code relates to "ordinances levying or imposing taxes, fees or
Philippines. other charges" in particular. In regard, therefore, to ordinances in general,
the Revised Charter of the City of Manila is doubtless dominant, but, that
dominant force loses its continuity when it approaches the realm of
The Court of Appeals, however, applied the Civil Code, and, we think, correctly. "ordinances levying or imposing taxes, fees or other charges" in particular.
It is true that, insofar as its territorial application is concerned, Republic Act No. There, the Local Tax Code controls. Here, as always, a general provision must
409 is a special law and the Civil Code a general legislation; but, as regards the give way to a particular provision. Special provision governs.
subject matter of the provisions above quoted, Section 4 of Republic Act 409
establishes a general rule regulating the liability of the City of Manila for
"damages or injury to persons or property arising from the failure of" city Let us examine the provisions involved in the case at bar. Article 32 of the Civil
officers "to enforce the provisions of" said Act "or any other law or ordinance, or Code provides:
from negligence" of the city "Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while
enforcing or attempting to enforce said provisions." Upon the other hand, Article ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly
2189 of the Civil Code constitutes a particular prescription making "provinces, or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates, or in any manner impedes or impairs
cities and municipalities . . . liable for damages for the death of, or injury any of the following rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the
suffered by, any person by reason" — specifically — "of the defective condition latter for damages:
of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public works under their
control or supervision." In other words, said section 4 refers to liability xxxx
arising from negligence, in general, regardless of the object thereof, whereas
Article 2189 governs liability due to "defective streets," in particular. Since
(6) The right against deprivation of property without due process of law;
the present action is based upon the alleged defective condition of a road,
said Article 2189 is decisive thereon.23
In the case of Bagatsing v. Ramirez,24
the issue was which law should govern the
publication of a tax ordinance, the City Charter of Manila, a special act which (8) The right to the equal protection of the laws;
treats ordinances in general and which requires their publication before
enactment and after approval, or the Tax Code, a general law, which deals in xxxx
particular with "ordinances levying or imposing taxes, fees or other charges,"
and which demands publication only after approval. In holding that it is the Tax The rationale for its enactment was explained by Dean Bocobo of the Code
Code which should prevail, the Court elucidated that: Commission, as follows:

There is no question that the Revised Charter of the City of Manila is a special "DEAN BOCOBO. Article 32, regarding individual rights, Attorney Cirilo
act since it relates only to the City of Manila, whereas the Local Tax Code is a Paredes proposes that Article 32 be so amended as to make a public official
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liable for violation of another person’s constitutional rights only if the public which is otherwise an invasion of another’s legal right; that is, liability in tort is
official acted maliciously or in bad faith. The Code Commission opposes this not precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.30
suggestion for these reasons:
The clear intention therefore of the legislature was to create a distinct cause of
"The very nature of Article 32 is that the wrong may be civil or criminal. It is not action in the nature of tort for violation of constitutional rights, irrespective of
necessary therefore that there should be malice or bad faith. To make such a the motive or intent of the defendant.31 This is a fundamental innovation in the
requisite would defeat the main purpose of Article 32 which is the effective Civil Code, and in enacting the Administrative Code pursuant to the exercise of
protection of individual rights. Public officials in the past have abused their legislative powers, then President Corazon C. Aquino, could not have intended
powers on the pretext of justifiable motives or good faith in the performance of to obliterate this constitutional protection on civil liberties.
their duties. Precisely, the object of the Article is to put an end to official abuse
by the plea of good faith. In the United States this remedy is in the nature of a In Aberca v. Ver,32 it was held that with the enactment of Article 32, the principle
tort. of accountability of public officials under the Constitution acquires added
meaning and assumes a larger dimension. No longer may a superior official relax
"Mr. Chairman, this article is firmly one of the fundamental articles introduced his vigilance or abdicate his duty to supervise his subordinates, secure in the
in the New Civil Code to implement democracy. There is no real democracy if a thought that he does not have to answer for the transgressions committed by the
public official is abusing and we made the article so strong and so latter against the constitutionally protected rights and liberties of the citizen. Part
comprehensive that it concludes an abuse of individual rights even if done in of the factors that propelled people power in February 1986 was the widely held
good faith, that official is liable. As a matter of fact, we know that there are very perception that the government was callous or indifferent to, if not actually
few public officials who openly and definitely abuse the individual rights of the responsible for, the rampant violations of human rights. While it would certainly
citizens. In most cases, the abuse is justified on a plea of desire to enforce the be too naive to expect that violators of human rights would easily be deterred by
law to comply with one’s duty. And so, if we should limit the scope of this the prospect of facing damage suits, it should nonetheless be made clear in no
article, that would practically nullify the object of the article. Precisely, the uncertain terms that Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are
opening object of the article is to put an end to abuses which are justified by a directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for the transgression, joint tortfeasors.
plea of good faith, which is in most cases the plea of officials abusing individual
rights."25 On the other hand, Sections 38 and 39, Book I of the Administrative Code, laid
down the rule on the civil liability of superior and subordinate public officers for
The Code Commission deemed it necessary to hold not only public officers but acts done in the performance of their duties. For both superior and subordinate
also private individuals civilly liable for violation of the rights enumerated in public officers, the presence of bad faith, malice, and negligence are vital
Article 32 of the Civil Code. It is not necessary that the defendant under this elements that will make them liable for damages. Note that while said provisions
Article should have acted with malice or bad faith, otherwise, it would defeat its deal in particular with the liability of government officials, the subject thereof is
main purpose, which is the effective protection of individual rights. It suffices general, i.e., "acts" done in the performance of official duties, without specifying
that there is a violation of the constitutional right of the plaintiff.26 the action or omission that may give rise to a civil suit against the official
Article 32 was patterned after the "tort" in American law.27 A tort is a wrong, a
tortious act which has been defined as the commission or omission of an act by Contrarily, Article 32 of the Civil Code specifies in clear and unequivocal terms
one, without right, whereby another receives some injury, directly or indirectly, a particular specie of an "act" that may give rise to an action for damages against
in person, property, or reputation.28 There are cases in which it has been stated a public officer, and that is, a tort for impairment of rights and liberties. Indeed,
that civil liability in tort is determined by the conduct and not by the mental state Article 32 is the special provision that deals specifically with violation of
of the tortfeasor, and there are circumstances under which the motive of the constitutional rights by public officers. All other actionable acts of public
defendant has been rendered immaterial. The reason sometimes given for the officers are governed by Sections 38 and 39 of the Administrative Code. While
rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged wrongdoer, and not the the Civil Code, specifically, the Chapter on Human Relations is a general law,
act itself, would determine whether the act was wrongful.29 Presence of good Article 32 of the same Chapter is a special and specific provision that holds a
motive, or rather, the absence of an evil motive, does not render lawful an act public officer liable for and allows redress from a particular class of wrongful
acts that may be committed by public officers. Compared thus with Section 38 of
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the Administrative Code, which broadly deals with civil liability arising from When Ranida submitted the test result to Dr. Sto. Domingo, the Company
errors in the performance of duties, Article 32 of the Civil Code is the specific physician, the latter apprised her that the findings indicated that she is suffering
provision which must be applied in the instant case precisely filed to seek from Hepatitis B, a liver disease. Thus, based on the medical report6submitted by
damages for violation of constitutional rights. Sto. Domingo, the Company terminated Ranida’s employment for failing the
physical examination.7
The complaint in the instant case was brought under Article 32 of the Civil
Code. Considering that bad faith and malice are not necessary in an action based When Ranida informed her father, Ramon, about her ailment, the latter suffered
on Article 32 of the Civil Code, the failure to specifically allege the same will a heart attack and was confined at the Bataan Doctors Hospital. During Ramon’s
not amount to failure to state a cause of action. The courts below therefore confinement, Ranida underwent another HBs Ag test at the said hospital and the
correctly denied the motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of result8 indicated that she is non-reactive. She informed Sto. Domingo of this
action, since it is enough that the complaint avers a violation of a constitutional development but was told that the test conducted by CDC was more reliable
right of the plaintiff. because it used the Micro-Elisa Method.

Anent the issue on non-compliance with the rule against forum shopping, the Thus, Ranida went back to CDC for confirmatory testing, and this time, the
subsequent submission of the secretary’s certificate authorizing the counsel to Anti-HBs test conducted on her indicated a "Negative" result.9
sign and execute the certification against forum shopping cured the defect of
respondent’s complaint. Besides, the merits of the instant case justify the liberal Ranida also underwent another HBs Ag test at the Bataan Doctors Hospital using
application of the rules.33 the Micro-Elisa Method. The result indicated that she was non-reactive.10

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. The Ranida submitted the test results from Bataan Doctors Hospital and CDC to the
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 7, 1999 which affirmed the Order of Executive Officer of the Company who requested her to undergo another similar
the Regional Trial Court of Marikina, Branch 272, denying petitioner’s motion test before her re-employment would be considered. Thus, CDC conducted
to dismiss, is AFFIRMED. The Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of another HBs Ag test on Ranida which indicated a "Negative" result.11 Ma. Ruby
Marikina, Branch 272, is hereby DIRECTED to continue with the proceedings G. Calderon, Med-Tech Officer-in-Charge of CDC, issued a Certification
in Civil Case No. 97-341-MK with dispatch. correcting the initial result and explaining that the examining medical
technologist (Garcia) interpreted the delayed reaction as positive or reactive.12
Thereafter, the Company rehired Ranida.
This is a petition for review2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the
February 27, 2004 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58668 On July 25, 1994, Ranida and Ramon filed a complaint13 for damages against
finding petitioner Orlando D. Garcia liable for gross negligence; and its June 16, petitioner Garcia and a purportedly unknown pathologist of CDC, claiming that,
2005 Resolution4 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. by reason of the erroneous interpretation of the results of Ranida’s examination,
she lost her job and suffered serious mental anxiety, trauma and sleepless nights,
On October 1, 1993, respondent Ranida D. Salvador started working as a trainee while Ramon was hospitalized and lost business opportunities.
in the Accounting Department of Limay Bulk Handling Terminal, Inc. (the
Company). As a prerequisite for regular employment, she underwent a medical On September 26, 1994, respondents amended their complaint14 by naming
examination at the Community Diagnostic Center (CDC). Garcia who is a Castro as the "unknown pathologist."
medical technologist, conducted the HBs Ag (Hepatitis B Surface Antigen) test
and on October 22, 1993, CDC issued the test result5 indicating that Ranida was
Garcia denied the allegations of gross negligence and incompetence and
"HBs Ag: Reactive." The result bore the name and signature of Garcia as
reiterated the scientific explanation for the "false positive" result of the first HBs
examiner and the rubber stamp signature of Castro as pathologist.
Ag test in his December 7, 1993 letter to the respondents.15

Page 8 of 53
For his part, Castro claimed that as pathologist, he rarely went to CDC and only Negligence is the failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another
when a case was referred to him; that he did not examine Ranida; and that the person that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances
test results bore only his rubber-stamp signature. justly demand,20 whereby such other person suffers injury. For health care
providers, the test of the existence of negligence is: did the health care provider
On September 1, 1997,16 the trial court dismissed the complaint for failure of the either fail to do something which a reasonably prudent health care provider
respondents to present sufficient evidence to prove the liability of Garcia and would have done, or that he or she did something that a reasonably prudent
Castro. It held that respondents should have presented Sto. Domingo because he health care provider would not have done; and that failure or action caused
was the one who interpreted the test result issued by CDC. Likewise, injury to the patient;21 if yes, then he is guilty of negligence.
respondents should have presented a medical expert to refute the testimonies of
Garcia and Castro regarding the medical explanation behind the conflicting test Thus, the elements of an actionable conduct are: 1) duty, 2) breach, 3) injury, and
results on Ranida.17 4) proximate causation.

Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the trial court’s All the elements are present in the case at bar.
findings, the dispositive portion of which states:
Owners and operators of clinical laboratories have the duty to comply with
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and statutes, as well as rules and regulations, purposely promulgated to protect and
another one entered ORDERING defendant-appellee Orlando D. Garcia, Jr. to promote the health of the people by preventing the operation of substandard,
pay plaintiff-appellant Ranida D. Salvador moral damages in the amount of improperly managed and inadequately supported clinical laboratories and by
P50,000.00, exemplary damages in the amount of P50,000.00 and attorney’s fees improving the quality of performance of clinical laboratory examinations.
in the amount of P25,000.00. 22 Their business is impressed with public interest, as such, high standards of
performance are expected from them.
In F.F. Cruz and Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we found the owner of a furniture
The appellate court found Garcia liable for damages for negligently issuing an shop liable for the destruction of the plaintiff’s house in a fire which started in
erroneous HBs Ag result. On the other hand, it exonerated Castro for lack of his establishment in view of his failure to comply with an ordinance which
participation in the issuance of the results. required the construction of a firewall. In Teague v. Fernandez, we stated that
where the very injury which was intended to be prevented by the ordinance has
happened, non-compliance with the ordinance was not only an act of negligence,
After the denial of his motion for reconsideration, Garcia filed the instant but also the proximate cause of the death.23
In fine, violation of a statutory duty is negligence. Where the law imposes upon
The main issue for resolution is whether the Court of Appeals, in reversing the a person the duty to do something, his omission or non-performance will render
decision of the trial court, correctly found petitioner liable for damages to the him liable to whoever may be injured thereby.
respondents for issuing an incorrect HBsAG test result.
Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4688, otherwise known as The Clinical
Garcia maintains he is not negligent, thus not liable for damages, because he Laboratory Law, provides:
followed the appropriate laboratory measures and procedures as dictated by his
training and experience; and that he did everything within his professional
competence to arrive at an objective, impartial and impersonal result. Sec. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person to be professionally in-charge of a
registered clinical laboratory unless he is a licensed physician duly qualified in
laboratory medicine and authorized by the Secretary of Health, such
At the outset, we note that the issues raised are factual in nature. Whether a authorization to be renewed annually.
person is negligent or not is a question of fact which we cannot pass upon in a
petition for review on certiorari which is limited to reviewing errors of law.19

Page 9 of 53
No license shall be granted or renewed by the Secretary of Health for the 25.1 The license to operate a clinical laboratory may be suspended or revoked by
operation and maintenance of a clinical laboratory unless such laboratory is the Undersecretary of Health for Standards and Regulation upon violation of
under the administration, direction and supervision of an authorized physician, R.A. 4688 or the rules and regulations issued in pursuance thereto or the
as provided for in the preceding paragraph. commission of the following acts by the persons owning or operating a clinical
laboratory and the persons under their authority.
Corollarily, Sections 9(9.1)(1), 11 and 25(25.1)(1) of the DOH Administrative
Order No. 49-B Series of 1988, otherwise known as the Revised Rules and (1) Operation of a Clinical Laboratory without a certified pathologist or qualified
Regulations Governing the Registration, Operation and Maintenance of Clinical licensed physician authorized by the Undersecretary of Health or without
Laboratories in the Philippines, read: employing a registered medical technologist or a person not registered as a
medical technologist in such a position.
Sec. 9. Management of the Clinical Laboratory:
And Section 29(b) of R.A. No. 5527, otherwise known as The Philippine
9.1 Head of the Clinical Laboratory: The head is that person who assumes Medical Technology Act of 1969, reads:
technical and administrative supervision and control of the activities in the
laboratory. Section 29. Penal Provisions.- Without prejudice to the provision of the Medical
Act of 1959, as amended relating to illegal practice of Medicine, the following
For all categories of clinical laboratories, the head shall be a licensed physician shall be punished by a fine of not less than two thousand pesos nor more than
certified by the Philippine Board of Pathology in either Anatomic or Clinical five thousand pesos, or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than
Pathology or both provided that: two years, or both, in the discretion of the court:

(1) This shall be mandatory for all categories of free-standing clinical xxxx
laboratories; all tertiary category hospital laboratories and for all secondary
category hospital laboratories located in areas with sufficient available (b) Any medical technologist, even if duly registered, who shall practice medical
pathologist. technology in the Philippines without the necessary supervision of a qualified
pathologist or physician authorized by the Department of Health;
From the foregoing laws and rules, it is clear that a clinical laboratory must be
Sec. 11. Reporting: All laboratory requests shall be considered as consultations administered, directed and supervised by a licensed physician authorized by the
between the requesting physician and pathologist of the laboratory. As such all Secretary of Health, like a pathologist who is specially trained in methods of
laboratory reports on various examinations of human specimens shall be laboratory medicine; that the medical technologist must be under the supervision
construed as consultation report and shall bear the name of the pathologist or his of the pathologist or a licensed physician; and that the results of any examination
associate. No person in clinical laboratory shall issue a report, orally or in may be released only to the requesting physician or his authorized representative
writing, whole portions thereof without a directive from the pathologist or his upon the direction of the laboratory pathologist.
authorized associate and only to the requesting physician or his authorized
representative except in emergencies when the results may be released as These rules are intended for the protection of the public by preventing
authorized by the pathologist. performance of substandard clinical examinations by laboratories whose
personnel are not properly supervised. The public demands no less than an
xxxx effective and efficient performance of clinical laboratory examinations through
compliance with the quality standards set by laws and regulations.
Sec. 25. Violations:
We find that petitioner Garcia failed to comply with these standards.

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First, CDC is not administered, directed and supervised by a licensed physician Last, the disputed HBsAG test result was released to respondent Ranida without
as required by law, but by Ma. Ruby C. Calderon, a licensed Medical the authorization of defendant-appellee Castro.29
Technologist.24 In the License to Open and Operate a Clinical Laboratory for the
years 1993 and 1996 issued by Dr. Juan R. Nañagas, M.D., Undersecretary for Garcia may not have intended to cause the consequences which followed after
Health Facilities, Standards and Regulation, defendant-appellee Castro was the release of the HBsAG test result. However, his failure to comply with the
named as the head of CDC.25 However, in his Answer with Counterclaim, he laws and rules promulgated and issued for the protection of public safety and
stated: interest is failure to observe that care which a reasonably prudent health care
provider would observe. Thus, his act or omission constitutes a breach of duty.
3. By way of affirmative and special defenses, defendant pathologist further
avers and plead as follows: Indubitably, Ranida suffered injury as a direct consequence of Garcia’s failure to
comply with the mandate of the laws and rules aforequoted. She was terminated
Defendant pathologist is not the owner of the Community Diagnostic Center nor from the service for failing the physical examination; suffered anxiety because
an employee of the same nor the employer of its employees. Defendant of the diagnosis; and was compelled to undergo several more tests. All these
pathologist comes to the Community Diagnostic Center when and where a could have been avoided had the proper safeguards been scrupulously followed
problem is referred to him. Its employees are licensed under the Medical in conducting the clinical examination and releasing the clinical report.
Technology Law (Republic Act No. 5527) and are certified by, and registered
with, the Professional Regulation Commission after having passed their Board Article 20 of the New Civil Code provides:
Examinations. They are competent within the sphere of their own profession in
so far as conducting laboratory examinations and are allowed to sign for and in
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes
behalf of the clinical laboratory. The defendant pathologist, and all pathologists
damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.
in general, are hired by laboratories for purposes of complying with the rules and
regulations and orders issued by the Department of Health through the Bureau of
Research and Laboratories. Defendant pathologist does not stay that long period The foregoing provision provides the legal basis for the award of damages to a
of time at the Community Diagnostic Center but only periodically or whenever a party who suffers damage whenever one commits an act in violation of some
case is referred to him by the laboratory. Defendant pathologist does not appoint legal provision.30 This was incorporated by the Code Commission to provide
or select the employees of the laboratory nor does he arrange or approve their relief to a person who suffers damage because another has violated some legal
schedules of duty.26 provision.31

Castro’s infrequent visit to the clinical laboratory barely qualifies as an effective We find the Court of Appeals’ award of moral damages reasonable under the
administrative supervision and control over the activities in the laboratory. circumstances bearing in mind the mental trauma suffered by respondent Ranida
"Supervision and control" means the authority to act directly whenever a specific who thought she was afflicted by Hepatitis B, making her "unfit or unsafe for
function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the any type of employment."32 Having established her right to moral damages, we
performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, revise or see no reason to disturb the award of exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.
modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units.27 Exemplary damages are imposed, by way of example or correction for the public
good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages,
33 and attorney’s fees may be recovered when, as in the instant case, exemplary
Second, Garcia conducted the HBsAG test of respondent Ranida without the
damages are awarded.34
supervision of defendant-appellee Castro, who admitted that:

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58668

[He] does not know, and has never known or met, the plaintiff-patient even up to
dated February 27, 2004 finding petitioner Orlando D. Garcia, Jr. guilty of gross
this time nor has he personally examined any specimen, blood, urine or any
negligence and liable to pay to respondents ₱50,000.00 as moral damages,
other tissue, from the plaintiff-patient otherwise his own handwritten signature
₱50,000.00 as exemplary damages, and ₱25,000.00 as attorney’s fees, is
would have appeared in the result and not merely stamped as shown in Annex
"B" of the Amended Complaint.28

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Ranida Salvador started working as a trainee in LBHT. She underwent a medical 2. Garcia conducted HBs Ag test of Ranida without
exam @ CDC with Garcia (medtech) conducting the HBs Ag test. Her result was Castro's supervision
REACTIVE. The company physician (Sto. Domingo) told her she is suffering 3. HBs Ag test result released to Ranida without Castro's
from HepaB, and based on the medical report SD submitted, LBHT terminated authorization
her employment. Ranida told her father Ramon about her condition, then the
latter suffered a heart attack and was confined at Bataan Doctors Hospital. 3. Garcia's failure to comply with laws, rules promulgated for the
Ranida took another HBs Ag test in BDH, and the result was NON-REACTIVE. protection of public safety and interest is failure to observe the
She told Dr. SD about it but the latter said the CDC test was more reliable, so care which a reasonably prudent health care provider would
she took another test at CDC again, and the result this time was NON- observe --> BREACH OF DUTY!
REACTIVE. She took the same test used in CDC @ BDH and the result was 4. Injuries suffered by Ranida could have been avoided had
NON-REACTIVE (four tests!). She submitted the results to the LBHT ExecOff proper safeguards been followed
who requested her to undergo under test (WTF!) - result is NEGATIVE (5th test, 5. NCC 20 is the legal basis for award of damages to one who
haha), so LBHT rehired her. suffers whenever another commits an act in violation of some
Ranida and Ramon filed a complaint for damages against medtech Garcia + legal provision
pathologist Castro, claiming that the erroneous interpretation led her to lose her
Damages, fees upheld. Garcia guilty of gross negligence.
job, suffer mental anxiety, while Ramon was hospitalized + lost business
opportunities. Garcia denied the allegations of gross negligence and
G.R. 178763 Peter Paul Patrick Lucas et al v. Dr. Prospero Ma. Tuano, April
incompetence; explained "false positive." Castro said he did not examine
Ranida, and that the results bore only his stamped signature.
RTC dismissed the Salvadors' complaint for failure to present sufficient
evidence. CA reversed this and ordered Garcia to pay moral damages (50k),
exemplary damages (50k), and atty's fees (25k). Castro was exonerated.
Sometime in 1988, petitioner Peter Paul Patrick Lucas contracted "sore eyes" in
his right eye. Upon consultation with Dr. Tuano, Peter narrated that it has been 9
Issue and Holding
days since the problem with his right eye began, and that he was already
WON CA correctly found Garcia liable for damages. YES
taking Maxitrol to address the eye problem. According to Dr. Tuano, he
1. WON a person is negligent is a question of fact -- petition for review on
performed "ocular routine examination" on Peter's eyes, wherein: 1. a cross
certiorari limited to reviewing errors of law
examination Peter's eyes and their surrounding area was made, and 2. Peter's
1. Negligence - failure to observe for the protection of another's visual acuity were taken, 3. Peter's eyes were palpated to check the intraocular
interest that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which pressure of each; 4. the mortility of Peter's eyes were observed, and 5. the
circ demand, whereby the other suffers injury ophthalmoscopy on Peter's eyes was used.
CONDUCT ARE PRESENT IN THIS CASE On that particular consultation, Dr. Tuano diagnosed that Peter was suffering
1. Duty from conjunctivitis or sore eyes. He then prescribed Spersacet C-eye drops for
Peter and told the latter to return for follow-up after one week.
2. Breach
3. Injury As instructed, Peter returned and Dr. Tuano discovered that the right eye
4. Proximate causation developed Epidemic Kerato Conjunctivitis, EKC, a viral infection. To address
the problem, Dr. Tuano prescribed Maxitrol, for a dosage of 6 times a day.
2. Negligence is a violation of statutory duty -- so many laws
were broken! However, the EKC was getting worse yet Dr. Tuano still continued on advising
1. CDC is not administered, directed, supervised by the use of Maxittrol, despite Peter's discovery of the inscribed warning written in
licensed physician but by a licensed medtech its label.
1. Castro's infrequent visit barely qualifies as
an admin supervision and control Upon examination, Dr. Tuano noted the hardness in Peter's right eye and
discovered that the tension in Peter's right eye was 39.0 Hg. Since the tension
Page 12 of 53
was way over the normal IOP which only ranged from 10.0 Hg to 21.0 Hg, Dr. used it only for two weeks, as EKC iss only a viral infection which will cure in
Tuano then ordered him to immediately discontinue the use of Maxitrol and tself. However, Dr. Agulto was not presented by petitioners as a witness to
prescribed to the latter Diamox and Normoglaucon instead. He also required confirm what he allegedly told Peter and therefore, the latter's testimony is
Peter to go for a daily check-up in order for the former to closely monitor the hearsay. Under Rule 130, Section 36 of the Rules of Court, a witness can testify
pressure of the latter' eyes. only to those facts which he knows of and his own personal knowledge. Familiar
and fundamental is the rule that hearsay testimony is inadmissible as evidence.
During one of Peter's regular follow-ups, Dr. Tuano noted the recurrence of EKC
in Peter's right eye. Thus, he referred Peter to Dr. Manuel Agulto, M.D., another Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by resolution, hence, this
opthalmologist specializing in glaucoma treatment. appeal.

Eventually, Peter, in claiming to have "steroid-induced glaucoma" and blaming Issue: Did the petitioners failed to prove by preponderance of evidence their
Dr. Tuano for the same, filed a civil complaint for damages against Dr. Tuano. In claim for damages against Dr. Tuano?
their complaint, petitioners averred that as the direct consequence of Peter's
prolonged use of Maxitrol, he suffered from steroid-induced glaucoma which Court Ruling:
caused the elevation of his intra-ocular pressure, which caused the impairment of
his vision which may lead to total blindness. Only questions of law may be raised under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as
this court is not a trier of facts.
In rebutting petitioner's claim, Dr. Tuano asserted that the treatment made by
him more than three years ago has no causal connection to Peter's glaucoma. He The said issue constitutes a question of fact, as the Supreme Court is asked to
further explained that 'drug-induced glaucoma is temporary and curable, steroids revisit anew the factual findings of the RTC and the CA. While this general rule
have the side effect of increasing intraocular pressure. Steroids are prescribed to admits of certain exceptions, such as the circumstance when the finding of fact
treat Epidemic Kerato Conjunctivitis or EKC which is an infiltration of the of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence, but is
cornea as a result of conjunctivitis or sore eyes'. Hence, the steroid treatment of contradicted by the evidence on record.
Peter's EKC caused the steroid-induced glaucoma.
The fact of want of competence or diligence is evidentiary in nature, the
RTC Ruling veracity of which can best be passed upon after a full-blown trial for it is
virtually impossible to ascertain the merits of a medical negligence case
The RTC dismissed the Civil Case for insufficiency of evidence, opining that without extensive investigation, research, evaluation and consultation with the
petitioners failed to prove by preponderance of evidence that Dr. Tuano was medical experts.
negligent in his treatment of Peter's condition. The trial court reasoned hat the
recognized standards of the medical community has not been established in thiss Petitioner's position in sum is that Peter's glaucoma is the direct result of Dr.
case, much less has causation been established to render Dr. Tuano liable. Tuano's negligence in his improper administration of the drug Maxitrol. Clearly,
Further, absence of any medical evidence to the contrary, the RTC ruled that it the present controversy is a classic illustration of a medical negligence case
cannot accept petitioner's claim that the use of steroid is the proximate cause of against a physician based on the latter's professional negligence. In this type of
the damage sustained by Peter's eye. suit, the patient or his heirs, in order to prevail, is required to prove by is
required to prove by preponderance of evidence that the physician failed to
Court of Appeals Ruling exercise that degree of skill, care and learning possessed by other persons in the
same profession; and that as a proximate result of such faiure, the patient or his
The CA faulted petitioners because they failed to present any medical expert to heirs suffered damages.
testify that Dr. Tuano's prescription of Maxitrol and Blephamide for the
treatment of EKC on petiitioner's right eye was not proper and that his palpation For lack of a specific law geared towards the type of negligence committed by
of Peter's right eye was not enough to detect adverse reaction to steroid. members of the medical profession, such claim for damages is almost always
anchored on the alleged violation of Article 2176 of the Civil Code which states
During the trial in CA, Peter testified that Dr. Manuel Agulto told him that he that "whoever by act or omission, causes damage to another, there being no fault
should not have used steroid for the treatment of EKC or that he should have or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, is

Page 13 of 53
there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties is called quasi- The hospital did not allow Bladimir to leave the hospital. He was then confined.
delict. The next day, Bladimir’s parents-respondent spouses Cubacub, with their
friend Dr. Frias, arrived at the Hospital and transferred Bladimir to the Quezon
In medical negligence cases, the four essential elements are the following: 1. City General Hospital where he was placed in the ICU and died the following
duty 2. breach 3. injury 4. proximate cause, which must be established by the day.

In order that there may be a recovery for an injury, it must be shown that the Bladimir’s parents-herein respondents later filed before the Tarlac RTC at Capas
injury for which the recovery is sought must be the legitimate consequence of a complaint for damages against petitioners, alleging that Hao was guilty of
the wrong done, the connection between the negligence and the injury must be a negligence which resulted in the deterioration of Bladimir’s condition leading to
direct and natural sequence of events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes. his death.

The Tarlac RTC dismissed the complaint, holding that Hao was not negligent.
On respondents’ appeal, the CA eversed the trial court’s decision, holding that
G.R. No. 150898 by Hao’s failure to bring Bladimir to a better-equipped hospital, he violated
Article 161 of the Labor Code.

April 13, 2011

ISSUE: Is petitioner company and its co-petitioner manager Hao guilty of
FACTS: Bladimir Cubacub was employed as maintenance man by petitioner
Ocean Builders Construction Corp. at its office in Caloocan City.

Bladimir was afflicted with chicken pox. He was thus advised by petitioner
Hao, the company’s general manager, to rest for 3 days which he did at the Art. 161 of the Labor Code provides:
company’s “barracks.”

ART. 161. Assistance of employer. – It shall be the duty of any employer to

3 days later, Bladimir went about his usual chores. Later in the afternoon, provide all the necessary assistance to ensure the adequate and immediate
however, he asked a co-worker Silangga, to accompany him to his house in medical and dental attendance and treatment to an injured or sick employee in
Capas, Tarlac so he could rest. Informed by Silangga of Bladimir’s intention, case of emergency.
Hao gave Bladimir P1,000.00 and ordered Silangga to instead bring Bladimir to
the nearest hospital.

The Implementing Rules of the Code do not enlighten what the phrase “adequate
and immediate” medical attendance means in relation to an “emergency.” It
Along with co-workers Narding and Vergado, Silangga thus brought Bladimir to would thus appear that the determination of what it means is left to the employer,
the nearest Community Hospital, a primary-care hospital around 1 kilometer except when a full-time registered nurse or physician are available on-site as
away from the office of the company. required, also under the Labor Code, specifically Art. 157 which provides:

Page 14 of 53
Article 157. Emergency Medical and Dental Services. ─ It shall be the duty of nearest hospital constituted “adequate and immediate medical” attendance that
every employer to furnish his employees in any locality with free medical and he is mandated, under Art. 161, to provide to a sick employee in an emergency.
dental attendance and facilities consisting of:

AT ALL EVENTS, the alleged negligence of Hao cannot be considered as the

(a) The services of a full-time registered nurse when the number of employees proximate cause of the death of Bladimir. Proximate cause is that which, in
exceeds fifty (50) but not more than two hundred (200) except when the natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by an efficient intervening cause,
employer does not maintain hazardous workplaces, in which case, the services of produces injury, and without which, the result would not have occurred. An
a graduate first-aider shall be provided for the protection of workers, where no injury or damage is proximately caused by an act or failure to act, whenever it
registered nurse is available. The Secretary of Labor and Employment shall appears from the evidence in the case that the act or omission played a
provide by appropriate regulations, the services that shall be required where the substantial part in bringing about or actually causing the injury or damage, and
number of employees does not exceed fifty (50) and shall determine by that the injury or damage was either a direct result or a reasonably probable
appropriate order, hazardous workplaces for purposes of this Article; consequence of the act or omission

(b) The services of a full-time registered nurse, a part-time physician and dentist, DISSENTING OPINION
and an emergency clinic, when the number of employees exceeds two hundred
(200) but not more than three hundred (300); and BERSAMIN, J.:

I dissent.
(c) The services of a full-time physician, dentist and a full-time registered nurse
as well as a dental clinic and an infirmary or emergency hospital with one bed I find myself unable to join my Honorable Brethren in the Third Division in the
capacity for every one hundred (100) employees when the number of employees result to be reached herein. My review of the records constrains me to travel the
exceeds three hundred (300). lonely path, convinced to now forsake unanimity in order to urge giving just
solace to the aggrieved parents of a poor employee who died from the
complications of chicken pox after his employers forced him to continue on the
In the present case, there is no allegation that the company premises are job despite his affliction that, in the first place, he had contracted in the
hazardous. Neither is there any allegation on the number of employees the workplace from a co-employee. To me, his death was wrongful by reason of the
company has. If Hao’s testimony would be believed, the company had only employers’ failure: (a) to isolate the co-worker to prevent the spread of chicken
seven regular employees and 20 contractual employees ─ still short of the pox; (b) to provide to him the legally mandated first aid treatment; and (c) to
minimum 50 workers that an establishment must have for it to be required to extend adequate medical and other assistance for his affliction with chicken pox
have a full-time registered nurse. and the expected complications of the affliction (like letting him off from work
in order to have complete rest).

The Court can thus only determine whether the actions taken by petitioners Antecedents
when Bladimir became ill amounted to the “necessary assistance” to ensure
“adequate and immediate medical . . . attendance” to Bladimir as required under This action concerns the damages claimed by the respondents, plaintiffs below,
Art. 161 of the Labor Code. arising from the untimely death of their son, Bladimir Cubacub, while employed
by Ocean Builders Construction Corporation (OBCC), then managed by
petitioner Dennis Hao. Bladimir had contracted chicken pox and a cough and
had later on collapsed in the workplace and rushed to the hospital. In its decision
As found by the trial court and borne by the records, petitioner Hao’s advice for
dated April 14, 1997, the RTC absolved the petitioners of any liability, and
Bladimir to, as he did, take a 3-day rest and to later have him brought to the
dismissed the complaint and the counterclaim, ruling that the proximate cause of
Page 15 of 53
Bladimir’s death could not be attributed to the petitioners, particularly because 7. ₱50,000.00 as moral damages;
the death certificate issued by the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH) did
not state chicken pox to be the cause of death, unlike the death certificate issued 8. ₱20,000.00 as exemplary damages;
by Dr. Hermes Frias. The RTC observed that Bladimir, being already of age, had
been responsible for his own act of reporting to work despite his illness; that
9. ₱15,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
chicken pox was not a serious disease requiring hospitalization, but a self-
limiting one that would heal by itself if proper care of the patient was taken; and
that the petitioners as employers were not mandated by any law to send Bladimir 10. Cost of suit.
to a hospital.
The respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA), which reversed the
RTC. The CA held that the respondents established the petitioners’ liability by The petitioners sought reconsideration, but the CA rebuffed them.
preponderant evidence, and, accordingly, found that Bladimir’s health had
deteriorated because he had been made to work despite his illness and because Hence, this appeal, wherein the petitioners contend that the CA erred in
Hao, as the manager of OBCC, had denied Bladimir’s request to take a vacation; concluding that they had not exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
that prior to his collapse, Bladimir had been suffering from the complications of and in giving weight to the death certificate issued by Dr. Frias.
chicken pox and had needed immediate medical treatment; and that the
petitioners did not extend the requisite assistance to Bladimir despite their
employer’s duty under Article 161 of the Labor Code to provide medical Submission
attention and treatment to an injured or sick employee in times of emergency.
The appeal has no merit.
The CA then disposed thuswise:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac,
Branch 66 in Civil Case No. 349 dated dated April 14, 1997 is hereby CA must be upheld on its resolution because

REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one rendered holding the defendants the appeal involves essentially factual issues
solidarily liable to plaintiffs-appellants for the following:
The petitioners, conscious that they hereby raise issues essentially factual in
1. ₱50,000.00 for the life of Bladimir Cubacub; nature, submit that their appeal should be given due course as an exception
pursuant to Fuentes v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 109849, February 26, 1997,
2. ₱584,630.00 for loss of Bladimir's earning capacity; 268 SCRA 703) because the factual findings of the CA conflicted with those of
the RTC.
3. ₱4,834.60 as reimbursement of expenses incurred at Quezon City General
Hospital as evidenced by Exhibit "E" to "E-14" inclusive; I am not persuaded that we should give due course to the appeal on that basis.
The mere variance between the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts
does not necessarily indicate that the CA’s ruling was erroneous, or less worthy
4. ₱18,107.75 as reimbursement of expenses for the 5-day wake covered by than the RTC’s. The petitioners’ burden was to present strong cogent reasons to
Exhibits "F" to "F-17"; convince the Court to reverse the CA, but their reasons were weak and contrary
to the records. The CA, acting as the reviewing court vis-à-vis the RTC,
5. ₱30,000.00 as funeral expenses at Prudential Funeral Homes covered by reasonably considered and appreciated the records of the trial; hence, its
Exhibit "I"; appreciation and determination of the factual and legal issues are entitled to great
respect. Thus, the CA’s ruling should be affirmed, not reversed.
6. ₱6,700.00 for acquisition of memorial lot at Sto. Rosario Memorial Park
covered by Exhibit "J"; 2.
Page 16 of 53
Petitioners were guilty for
 there is something before them to suggest or warn of danger. Could a
the wrongful death of Bladimir prudent man, in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the
course actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of the actor to take precautions to
The respondents have anchored their action for damages on the provisions of the guard against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the
Civil Code on quasi-delict and human relations. ignoring of the suggestion born of this prevision, is always necessary before
negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion for
determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said
Under the concept of quasi-delict, whoever by act or omission causes damage to to be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done.
2 To sustain a claim based on quasi-delict, the following requisites must concur:
have foreseen that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to
warrant his foregoing the conduct or guarding against its consequences.9
(a) there must be damage caused to the plaintiff; (b) there must be negligence by
act or omission, of which the defendant or some other person for whose acts the
defendant must respond was guilty; and (c) there must be a connection of cause Negligence is a relative term, not an absolute one, because its application
and effect between such negligence and the damage.3 depends upon the situation of the parties and the reasonable degree of care and
vigilance that the surrounding circumstances reasonably impose. Consequently,
when the danger is great, a high degree of care is required, and the failure to
Negligence, according to Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court,4 is "the observe such degree of care amounts to want of ordinary care.10
omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those
considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do,
or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do,5 or The essential linkage between the negligence or fault, on one hand, and the
as Judge Cooley defines it,6 ‘(t)he failure to observe for the protection of the injury or damage, on the other hand, must be credibly and sufficiently
interests of another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which established. An injury or damage is proximately caused by an act or a failure to
the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.’"7 act whenever it appears from the evidence that the act or omission played a
substantial part in bringing about or actually causing the injury or damage; and
that the injury or damage was either a direct result or a reasonably probable
The test for the existence of negligence in a particular case has been aptly put consequence of the act or omission.11
in Picart v. Smith,8 thuswise:
According to the petitioners, the following acts of Hao proved that they were not
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case negligent, namely: (a) it was at Hao’s instance that Bladimir was brought to the
may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act Caybiga Community Hospital; (b) before leaving for Hongkong, Hao instructed
use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person Ignacio Silangga, another employee, to attend to the needs of Bladimir who had
would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of been admitted in the hospital; and (c) Hao advised Bladimir to take a rest for
negligence. The law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied three days.
by the imaginary conduct of the discreet paterfamilias of the Roman law. The
existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by reference to the
personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The law considers The Majority hold that all that Article 161 of the Labor Code,12 upon which,
what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary among others, the CA anchored its decision against the petitioners, required of
intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that. the petitioners as the employers of the ill Bladimir was to render "necessary
assistance" to ensure "adequate and immediate medical … attendance"; that
Hao’s advice to Bladimir to take a 3-day rest, which he did, and to later have
The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a Bladimir brought to the nearest hospital constituted the adequate and immediate
given situation must of course be always determined in the light of human medical attendance Article 161 mandated; and that given that chicken pox was
experience and in view of the facts involved in the particular case. Abstract self-limiting, Hao, who did not appear to have a medical background, might not
speculation cannot here be of much value but this much can be profitably be expected to have known that Bladimir needed to be brought to a hospital with
said: Reasonable men govern their conduct by the circumstances which are better facilities than the Caybiga Hospital.
before them or known to them. They are not, and are not supposed to be,
omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to take care only when

Page 17 of 53
The Majority further hold that the alleged negligence of Hao could not be the the PNRC.15 The term first-aid treatment means adequate, immediate, and
proximate cause of the death of Bladimir, because whatever he did or did not do necessary medical attention or remedy given in case of injury or sudden illness
played no substantial part in bring about or actually causing the injury or suffered by a worker during employment, irrespective of whether or not such an
damage; hence, the death of Bladimir was neither the direct result nor a injury or illness is work-connected, before more extensive medical or dental
reasonably probable consequence of Hao’s act or omission; that there was treatment can be secured; it does not include continued treatment or follow-up
nothing in the records to show that Bladimir had contracted the chicken pox treatment for any injury or illness.16
from an afflicted co-worker whom Hao negligently did not bring to the nearest
physician, or did not isolate from his co-workers; that both lower courts did not However, Hao admitted that OBCC did not have a clinic in the workplace, or a
make any definite finding that Bladimir had contracted the chicken pox from a nurse or other competent person who might assist an employee in an emergency,
co-worker; and that the only allusion to another employee being afflicted with or that OBCC had any agreement with a nearby hospital to attend to a sick
chicken pox was made by Hao when he testified that he had known that chicken employee.17 The admitted failure to provide to the employees, in general, and to
pox would heal within three days "as was the case of another worker, without Bladimir, in particular, any of the several free emergency medical and dental
reference, however, as to when it happened."13 services and facilities the Labor Code and the implementing rules and
regulations of the Department of Labor and Employment required removed the
I cannot accept the Majority’s holding. foundation for absolving the petitioners from liability.

The Majority’s favoring the petitioners disregards the records, which Chicken pox, or varicella, is a highly contagious disease of childhood, caused by
convincingly demonstrated and preponderantly established that Hao had failed to a large DNA virus and characterized by a well-defined incubation period, and a
exercise the degree of care and vigilance required under the circumstances. vesicular rash that typically occurs in successive crops and most marked on the
Besides, the aforestated acts of Hao, objectively considered, did not warrant the trunk. In healthy children, the disease is usually mild with clinical symptoms
petitioners’ absolution from liability. limited to the skin; but in immunosuppressed children and adults, life-
threatening illness caused by deep visceral involvement is not uncommon.
18 Among the known complications of varicella are: (a) secondary bacterial
Let me elucidate.
infection; (b) varicella pneumonia; (c) dissemination to other viscera; (d) central
nervous system complications; (e) coagulation complications; and (f) rare
2.a. complications such as varicella infection of the cornea, edema, Reyes’
syndrome, or myocarditis.19
Petitioners violated the requirements of

the Labor Code and its implementing rules Chicken pox is a self-limiting disease that heals by itself when properly taken
care of by giving the patient sufficient time to rest and administering
It is good to start by unhesitatingly indicating that the petitioners as employers symptomatic medications. Dr. Hermes Frias enlightened the trial court thereon:
committed violations of the minimum standards of care that the law erected for
the benefit of Bladimir and his co-workers. COURT

The implementing rules of the Labor Code required OBCC to provide medical Q: He contracted chicken pox?
and dental services and facilities to its employees. Specifically, under Section
4(a), Rule 1 of the Implementing Rules of Book IV, OBCC had the legal
obligation due to the number of its workers being at least 27 in number (that is, A: Yes, your honor, which is a self limiting disease.
seven regular employees and 20 contractual ones, according to Hao) to employ
at least a graduate first-aider, who might be one of the workers in the workplace; Q: What do you mean by that?
such graduate first-aider must be afforded immediate access to the first-aid
medicines, equipment, and facilities.14 The term first-aider refers to a person A: Meaning to say, your Honor, if it is properly taken care of, it will not reach to
who has been trained and duly certified as qualified to administer first aid by the the point of seriously affecting the patient and there is a certain period wherein
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) or any other organization accredited by the chicken pox will heal.20
Page 18 of 53
ATTY. SANTILLAN Q: In your medical opinion, doctor, when can these complications set in?

Q: That is you said if taken care of at the initial? A: There is no specific time on when these complications set in; but if the patient
is properly taken care of during his illness having chicken pox, these
A: Yes, sir.21 complications usually do not set in. The book states that complications of
pneumonia is around, if I am not mistaken, 20% to 30% of patients contacting
chicken pox.
Q: In your medical opinion also, doctor, if the patient who has chicken pox
COURT do(es) not rest and continue(s) working and without medication, would your
answer still be the same as to the time when these complications will set in?
Q: Will you clarify. You said that the disease is self limiting disease.
A: Without proper rest and medication, your Honor, the chances of complication
A: Yes your honor. setting in is much higher than in a patient who is fully rested and receiving
symptomatic medications.23
Q: So more or less, even without any medicine or without any medical
attendance if it is self limiting disease, it will heal by itself, Isn’t it? With the records showing that OBCC did not have the graduate first aider or
clinic in the workplace, Bladimir received no first aid treatment from April 9,
A: Yes, your Honor, if you would let me clarify on that thing, your Honor. 1995 (when he contracted chicken pox) until April 12, 1995 (when he was
Chicken pox has no medicine, it is being treated symptomatically. What I mean rushed to the community hospital after collapsing in the workplace). Also,
that it has no medicine. There are medicines that are being tested that claim to Bladimir was not allowed to have bed rest, considering that Hao instead required
have anti-viral activities but it cannot be positively claimed that there is a him to continue on the job despite his affliction, denying the latter’s request to be
medicine solely for chicken pox. So chicken pox, you, Honor, is being treated allowed to rest in his parents’ home in Capas, Tarlac, all because Hao was due to
symptomatically. If the patient having chicken pox will have fever, he will be leave for Hongkong for the Holy Week break and had no one else to remain in
given anti-fever medicine and if the patient have pneumonia due to chicken pox, the premises in his absence. Hao’s utter lack of concern and solicitude for the
that is when the appropriate antibiotics is given. welfare of Bladimir not only contravened the letter and spirit of the Labor Code
but also manifested a callous disregard of Bladimir’s weakened condition.
Q: If it is self limiting, doctor, can you not say you don’t even have to confine
him in the hospital? It is not to be lost sight of, too, that, even assuming that Hao really told Bladimir
to take a rest in the company barracks upon his affliction with chicken pox on
A: Yes, your honor, but the patient should be confined in bed.22 April 9, 1995, the petitioners should still answer for the wrongful death because
the barracks provided to Bladimir and others (free of charge, the Majority point
out) were unsuitable for any employee afflicted with chicken pox to have the
Based on the foregoing testimony of Dr. Frias, it is imperative that the chicken requisite complete rest. The barracks consisted of a small, cramped, and
pox-afflicted patient should be confined in bed to rest during the initial stages of guardhouse-like structure constructed of wood and plywood that even raised the
the disease; otherwise, the complications of chicken pox, which are deadly, may chances for chicken pox to spread. Under the circumstances, the petitioners’
set in. neglect of the welfare of Bladimir became all the more pronounced.

Dr. Frias explained the probability of the complications of chicken pox affecting 2.b.
the patient, viz:
Bladimir succumbed to complications of chicken pox
A: Among the complications of chicken pox especially in adults that contacted it
is pneumonia, then another complication is the brain, encephalitis, those are the
complications, sir. after petitioners refused to let him have complete rest
Page 19 of 53
There are two sides of whether or not Bladimir was afforded the sufficient time ATTY. S. SANTILLAN:
to rest. The first is Hao’s claim that Bladimir took a three-day rest, more
particularly, on April 9, 10 and 11, 1995. The second is the respondents’ Q: In what particular place you met Bladimir Cubacub on April 11, 1995 at 9:00
insistence that Hao still required Bladimir to remain on the job from April 9 to o'clock in the morning?
April 12, 1995 despite Bladimir’s several requests to be allowed to go to his
parents’ home in Capas, Tarlac to have the much needed rest, because Hao was
then set to travel to Hongkong during the Holy Week break and desired Bladimir
to man the premises in his absence.
A: At the guard house, sir.
The Majority adopts the first, despite Hao supporting his claim with only his
mere say-so, but I incline towards the respondents’ version, because of the Q: Guard house of what company if you know or what place?
objective confirmation of the version by two witnesses, who coincided in their
declarations that Bladimir was on the job on April 11, 1995 and April 12, 1995, A: Ocean Builders, sir.
contrary to Hao’s claim.
Q: What was Bladimir doing there at the guard house when you arrived?
The first objective witness was Ariel Taruc, who was presented by the
respondents. Taruc testified that he saw Bladimir working, cleaning the company A: He was assigned in that guard house, sir.
premises and vehicles, and manning the gate on April 11, 1995. Taruc stated, too,
that Bladimir, already looking weak and full of rashes in his body, wanted very
much to go home to Capas, Tarlac to rest during the Holy Week break but his Q: Can you tell this Honorable Court what you and Bladimir talked about during
manager (Hao) did not give him permission to do so. I excerpt Taruc’s relevant that meeting at 9:00 o'clock on April 11, 1995?
testimony, to wit:
A: I also invited Bladimir to go home on Holy Thursday, however, he informed
Q: Now on April 11, 1995, what time did you and Mr. Cubacub talk? me that he could not go home because he was not allowed by his manager to go
home as his manager was going somewhere, sir.
A: 9:00 o'clock in the morning, sir.
Q: Now, can you tell this Honorable Court also if you know what was the
physical condition of Bladimir at the time you are talking to him?
Q: Can you tell this Honorable Court why you went there on April 11, 1995?
A: At that time, sir, his face was full of chicken pox, sir, and he looks weak, sir.
A: I wanted to invite him to go home because that was a Holy Week, sir.
Q: Now, was that the only subject of conversation between you and Bladimir
COURT Cubacub at the time you visited him?

Holy Tuesday, you did not work on that day? A: I was inviting him to go home that week, however he did not want to go
home, in fact he showed his chicken pox in his stomach and he informed me that
WITNESS he will be going home when I come back for work, sir.

We did not have work on that day ma'am. Q: Will you tell the Court, you describe what those bulutong looks like?

COURT A: "Butil-butil" with pus and his face, both arms and his stomach were full of
chicken pox, and they look like boil (pigsa), mam.24
Alright, proceed.
Page 20 of 53
The second objective witness was Ignacio Silangga, an employee of OBCC Q: And, when Bladimir opened the gate for you on April 12, 1995, was he in his
whom the petitioners presented on their side. Like Taruc, Silangga saw Bladimir ordinary self or usual ordinary self?
working on April 11, 1995 by cleaning the company premises and vehicles, and
opening and closing the gate of the premises, as the following except of his A: Yes, sir.
testimony bears out:
Q: Alright, so, after opening the gate of Ocean Builders, do you remember what
Q: On April 11? happened next?

A: On April 11, I saw him, sir. A: Bladimir Cubacub calls me "Kuya", sir, and he told me, "Kuya, can you bring
me to Tarlac", sir.
Q: Also working in the premises?
Q: And, did Bladimir Cubacub tell you the reason why he wants to be brought to
A: He was cleaning the vehicle, sir. Tarlac?

Q: So aside from cleaning the premises, opening, closing the gate, you also see A: He told me that he wants to take a rest, sir.
him cleaning the vehicles of the corporation, is that what you mean?
Q: And, did he also tell you the reason why he wanted to take a rest?
A: Yes, sir, that is his duty or job.
A: He did not tell me the reason, sir. He just told me that he wants to take a rest,
COURT so, his brothers and sisters could take care of him, sir.

Q: Cleaning the vehicle is his job? Q: Did he not also tell you the reason why he wants his brothers and sisters to
take care of him?
A: Yes, ma’am.25
A: What I know, he was suffering from chicken pox, sir.26
In addition, Silangga attested that Bladimir continued on the job on April 12,
1995, instead of resting. In fact, Silangga recalled Bladimir requesting to bring With the aforequoted testimonies definitely confirming that Bladimir worked
him home to Tarlac ("bring me to Tarlac") because he wanted his own brothers until April 12, 1995 (at least) despite his greatly weakened condition, I wonder
and sisters to take care of him and to rest. The relevant excerpt of Silangga’s how and why the RTC still held that Bladimir was solely responsible for the fatal
testimony follows: consequence of his affliction, and why the Majority agrees with the RTC and
completely absolves the petitioners from responsibility and liability.
Q: Can you recall to us what date was that when you last saw him before you
saw him at the hospital? 2.c.

A: On April 12, 1995, sir, I came from Manila because I secured the Plate Bladimir contracted chicken pox

Number of Mr. Dennis Hao, sir. from a co-employee

Q: And, from Manila, where did you go? Citing the lack of any finding to that effect in the decisions of both lower courts,
the Majority downplays the cause of Bladimir’s chicken pox and ignores that
A: Upon entering the gate of your company, Bladimir was there and he was the Bladimir contracted the chicken pox from a co-worker.
one who opened the gate for me, sir.

Page 21 of 53
I cannot go along with the Majority. It will be odd if the Court refuses to rectify because Bladimir’s condition deteriorated until he fell into coma on April 13,
the omission of both lower courts in missing out on such an important detail as 1995, the day following his admission.
the causation of the chicken pox and ignores the evidence to that effect. The
silence of the lower courts ought not to impede the rectification, for ours is the Too little, because ₱1,000.00 was a mere pittance when compared with OBCC’s
foremost duty, as the ultimate dispenser of justice and fairness, to make judicial undeserved savings from not complying with its legally mandated obligation to
decisions speak the truth. provide first aid treatment to its employees, and from not doing more after
Bladimir had been rushed to the community hospital by Silangga.
Thus, I excerpt from Hao’s testimony the portion that incontrovertibly shows
that he well knew that Bladimir had contracted his chicken pox from a co- Too late, because by the time of rushing him to the community hospital Bladimir
worker, in order to show how Bladimir contracted the chicken pox from a co- had already collapsed due to the irreversible effects of the deadly complications
worker, viz: of the 3-days old affliction.

Q: Personally, have you experience from chicken pox (sic), do you know 2.e.
whether it is something serious or what kind disease?
A: Actually, before Bladimir Cubacub was afflicted with chicken pox from one
of his co-employee who is also residing in the barracks who was afflicted with
Unlike the Majority, I find a direct link between the petitioners’ acts and
chicken pox, that is why I saw that chicken pox could ill in about three (3) days,
omissions and Bladimir’s death. The chain of the events from the time when
Bladimir was exposed to the chicken pox afflicting his co-worker due to their
staying together in the cramped space of the workers’ barracks, to the time when
Clearly, it was Hao who himself confirmed that Bladimir had contracted his Hao directed Silangga to rush the collapsed Bladimir to the community hospital,
chicken pox from a co-worker. and until Bladimir succumbed in QCGH indicated a natural and continuous
sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, demonstrating how their
2.d. gross neglect of their employee’s plight led to or caused the wrongful death.

Hao’s acts after Bladimir collapsed
 Contrary to the Majority’s conclusion, Hao willfully disregarded Bladimir’s
and was rushed to the hospital
 deteriorating condition and prevented him from taking time off from his job to
were superficial, too little, and too late have the much needed complete rest. Hao’s attitude enabled the complications of
chicken pox, like pneumonia, to set in to complicate Bladimir’s condition. Hao
It is true that Hao directed Silangga to bring Bladimir to the community hospital did not need to have a medical background to realize Bladimir’s worsening
after he collapsed in the workplace, giving ₱1,000.00 for Bladimir’s medical condition and the concomitant perils, for such condition was not concealed due
bill. But Hao’s solicitude was superficial (if not feigned), too little, and too late. to Bladimir’s body notoriously bearing the signs of his affliction and general
debility. By the time Hao acted and had Bladimir brought to the community
hospital, the complications of the disease were already irreversible.
Superficial (if not feigned), for, although Bladimir, as a stay-in employee of
OBCC under Hao’s supervision, was Hao’s responsibility, Hao had not earlier
done anything to prevent Bladimir from contracting chicken pox by isolating Undoubtedly, the petitioners did not use that reasonable care and caution that an
Bladimir from contact with the afflicted co-worker. Instead, Bladimir and the ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation.
afflicted co-worker were forced to stay together in their crowded barracks. In
addition, Hao showed no further interest in seeing to the condition of Bladimir 3.
and in ascertaining whether the community hospital to where Bladimir had been
rushed upon Hao’s directive had the adequate facilities and medical personnel to Dr. Frias’ death certificate was

attend to Bladimir. Obviously, the community hospital was not adequate, more reliable on the cause of death

Page 22 of 53
The Majority do not consider the later death certificate issued by Dr. Frias Q: The Court would like to be clarified, Dr. Frias. Who is authorized to issue a
(which included chicken pox among the causes of death) more reliable than the death certificate based on the rules and regulations of the Department of Health?
death certificate issued on April 17, 1995 by the QCGH (which did not include
chicken pox among the causes of death), mainly because Dr. Frias could not be A: Attending physicians, your Honor, and any doctor who saw the patient.
considered as Bladimir’s attending physician, he having merely ordered
Bladimir’s transfer to the QCGH after seeing him at the Caybiga Community
Hospital; and because the QCGH death certificate was a public document whose
entries are presumed correct unless their inaccuracy is first shown by positive
evidence. Q: Could you reconcile why there are two (2) death certificates in this case, one
issued by the hospital where the patient died and one which you issued?
I disagree with the Majority.
A: They can be reconciled your Honor...
Although, concededly, any competent health professional can confirm that death
has occurred, only a physician who attended the patient during his last illness Q: No, I'm not asking for reconciliation. I'm just asking why there are two death
can execute a death certificate. Anent the task, the physician provides an opinion certificates?
on the cause of death and certifies to such cause of death, not to the fact of death.
The physician is not required to confirm that life is extinct; or to view the body A: Yes, it was given to him so that the patient can be transported while I made
of the deceased; or to report the fact that death has occurred. The death the other one to show how seriously ill the patient was at the time of his death,
certificate is not a medical document, but a civil one intended to serve various anyway I initially saw the patient and I was with him all the way up to the time
legal purposes. he was transferred to the Quezon City General Hospital, your Honor.

Was Dr. Frias qualified to execute the second death certificate? Q: Did I hear you correctly when you said that you issued the certificate after
you saw the death certificate issued by the Quezon City General Hospital?
I answer in the affirmative.
A: Yes, your Honor.
I deem to be uncontroverted that Dr. Frias medically attended to Bladimir during
his last illness, considering that Dr. Frias was the physician who coordinated Q: The Court is asking why is there a need for another death certificate when in
Bladimir’s transfer to QCGH from the Caybiga Community Hospital based on fact you said there was already a death certificate that was already issued if it is
his professional assessment of the true medical condition of Bladimir and of the for transporting the corpse?
urgent need for the transfer to another medical institution with better facilities.
A: I made one, your Honor. The answer is I made one so to show the real cause
In contrast, the physician who executed on April 17, 1995 the death certificate of death of the patient. I think in my opinion, the death certificate of the Quezon
for Bladimir in QCGH did not attend to Bladimir during his last illness. This fact City General Hospital is inadequate to show the real condition of the patient.29
is unquestionably borne out in the death certificate itself, in which the physician
ticked the box denominated as Question No. 20 in the form for the death Based on the foregoing, therefore, that Dr. Frias had the basic competence to
certificate, thereby stating that he had not attended to the deceased.28 execute the second death certificate, and that such death certificate was the more
reliable on the causes of Bladimir’s death should be beyond debate.
Moreover, Dr. Frias testified that the QCGH death certificate was prepared
principally to enable the transport of the remains of Bladimir from Quezon City ACCORDINGLY, I vote to deny the petition for review on certiorari, and to
to Tarlac. Upon seeing the incompleteness of the QCGH death certificate on the affirm the decision rendered on June 22, 2001 by the Court of Appeals.
causes of death, however, Dr. Frias felt compelled to execute another death
certificate, as the following excerpt of his testimony reveals:

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BARREDO vs GARCIA the complaint. This decision was modified by the Court of Appeals by reducing
the damages to P1,000 with legal interest from the time the action was instituted.
At about 1:30am on May 3, 1936, Fontanilla’s taxi collided with a “kalesa” It is undisputed that Fontanilla 's negligence was the cause of the mishap, as he
thereby killing the 16 year old Faustino Garcia. Faustino’s parents filed a was driving on the wrong side of the road, and at high speed. As to Barredo's
criminal suit against Fontanilla and reserved their right to file a separate civil responsibility, the Court of Appeals found:
suit. Fontanilla was eventually convicted. After the criminal suit, Garcia filed a
civil suit against Barredo – the owner of the taxi (employer of Fontanilla). The ... It is admitted that defendant is Fontanilla's employer. There is proof that he
suit was based on Article 1903 of the civil code (negligence of employers in the exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. (See p.
selection of their employees). Barredo assailed the suit arguing that his liability 22, appellant's brief.) In fact it is shown he was careless in employing Fontanilla
is only subsidiary and that the separate civil suit should have been filed against who had been caught several times for violation of the Automobile Law and
Fontanilla primarily and not him. speeding (Exhibit A) — violation which appeared in the records of the Bureau of
Public Works available to be public and to himself. Therefore, he must
ISSUE: Whether or not Barredo is just subsidiarily liable. indemnify plaintiffs under the provisions of article 1903 of the Civil Code.
HELD: No. He is primarily liable under Article 1903 which is a separate civil
action against negligent employers. Garcia is well within his rights in suing The main theory of the defense is that the liability of Fausto Barredo is governed
Barredo. He reserved his right to file a separate civil action and this is more by the Revised Penal Code; hence, his liability is only subsidiary, and as there
expeditious because by the time of the SC judgment Fontanilla is already serving has been no civil action against Pedro Fontanilla, the person criminally liable,
his sentence and has no property. It was also proven that Barredo is negligent in Barredo cannot be held responsible in the case. The petitioner's brief states on
hiring his employees because it was shown that Fontanilla had had multiple page 10:
traffic infractions already before he hired him – something he failed to overcome
during hearing. Had Garcia not reserved his right to file a separate civil action, ... The Court of Appeals holds that the petitioner is being sued for his failure to
Barredo would have only been subsidiarily liable. Further, Barredo is not being exercise all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
sued for damages arising from a criminal act (his driver’s negligence) but rather supervision of Pedro Fontanilla to prevent damages suffered by the respondents.
for his own negligence in selecting his employee (Article 1903). In other words, The Court of Appeals insists on applying in the case article 1903
of the Civil Code. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is found in Chapter II, Title 16,
This case comes up from the Court of Appeals which held the petitioner herein, Book IV of the Civil Code. This fact makes said article to a civil liability arising
Fausto Barredo, liable in damages for the death of Faustino Garcia caused by the from a crime as in the case at bar simply because Chapter II of Title 16 of Book
negligence of Pedro Fontanilla, a taxi driver employed by said Fausto Barredo. IV of the Civil Code, in the precise words of article 1903 of the Civil Code itself,
is applicable only to "those (obligations) arising from wrongful or negligent acts
At about half past one in the morning of May 3, 1936, on the road between or commission not punishable by law.
Malabon and Navotas, Province of Rizal, there was a head-on collision between
a taxi of the Malate Taxicab driven by Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided by The gist of the decision of the Court of Appeals is expressed thus:
Pedro Dimapalis. The carretela was overturned, and one of its passengers, 16-
year-old boy Faustino Garcia, suffered injuries from which he died two days
later. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla in the Court of First Instance ... We cannot agree to the defendant's contention. The liability sought to be
of Rizal, and he was convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of imposed upon him in this action is not a civil obligation arising from a felony or
one year and one day to two years of prision correccional. The court in the a misdemeanor (the crime of Pedro Fontanilla,), but an obligation imposed in
criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a separate civil action be article 1903 of the Civil Code by reason of his negligence in the selection or
reserved. The Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence of the lower court in the supervision of his servant or employee.
criminal case. Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario, parents of the deceased on
March 7, 1939, brought an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila against The pivotal question in this case is whether the plaintiffs may bring this separate
Fausto Barredo as the sole proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of civil action against Fausto Barredo, thus making him primarily and directly,
Pedro Fontanilla. On July 8, 1939, the Court of First Instance of Manila awarded responsible under article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of Pedro
damages in favor of the plaintiffs for P2,000 plus legal interest from the date of Fontanilla. The defendant maintains that Fontanilla's negligence being

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punishable by the Penal Code, his (defendant's) liability as an employer is only ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is enforcible,
subsidiary, according to said Penal code, but Fontanilla has not been sued in a not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
civil action and his property has not been exhausted. To decide the main issue, another is responsible.
we must cut through the tangle that has, in the minds of many confused and
jumbled together delitos and cuasi delitos, or crimes under the Penal Code and The father and in, case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any
fault or negligence under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. This should be damages caused by the minor children who live with them.
done, because justice may be lost in a labyrinth, unless principles and remedies
are distinctly envisaged. Fortunately, we are aided in our inquiry by the luminous
Guardians are liable for damages done by minors or incapacitated persons
presentation of the perplexing subject by renown jurists and we are likewise
subject to their authority and living with them.
guided by the decisions of this Court in previous cases as well as by the solemn
clarity of the consideration in several sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of
Spain. Owners or directors of an establishment or business are equally liable for any
damages caused by their employees while engaged in the branch of the service
in which employed, or on occasion of the performance of their duties.
Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a
separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own,
and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from delict or crime. The State is subject to the same liability when it acts through a special agent, but
Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903 of the Civil Code, not if the damage shall have been caused by the official upon whom properly
the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored. devolved the duty of doing the act performed, in which case the provisions of the
next preceding article shall be applicable.
The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code and Revised Penal Code are as
follows: Finally, teachers or directors of arts trades are liable for any damages caused by
their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
The liability imposed by this article shall cease in case the persons mentioned
therein prove that they are exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family
ART. 1089 Obligations arise from law, from contracts and quasi-contracts, and
to prevent the damage.
from acts and omissions which are unlawful or in which any kind of fault or
negligence intervenes.
ART. 1904. Any person who pays for damage caused by his employees may
recover from the latter what he may have paid.
xxx xxx xxx


ART. 1092. Civil obligations arising from felonies or misdemeanors shall be
governed by the provisions of the Penal Code.
ART. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony. — Every person criminally
liable for a felony is also civilly liable.
ART. 1093. Those which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or
negligence, not punishable by law, intervenes shall be subject to the provisions
of Chapter II, Title XVI of this book. ART. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certain cases. — The exemption
from criminal liability established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of article 12
and in subdivision 4 of article 11 of this Code does not include exemption from
xxx xxx xxx
civil liability, which shall be enforced to the following rules:
ART 1902. Any person who by an act or omission causes damage to another by
First. In cases of subdivision, 1, 2 and 3 of article 12 the civil liability for acts
his fault or negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.
committed by any imbecile or insane person, and by a person under nine years of
age, or by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted without

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discernment shall devolve upon those having such person under their legal robbery with violence against or intimidation against or intimidation of persons
authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or negligence on unless committed by the innkeeper's employees.
their part.
ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. — The subsidiary liability
Should there be no person having such insane, imbecile or minor under his established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers,
authority, legal guardianship, or control, or if such person be insolvent, said persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies
insane, imbecile, or minor shall respond with their own property, excepting committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the
property exempt from execution, in accordance with the civil law. discharge of their duties.

Second. In cases falling within subdivision 4 of article 11, the person for whose xxx xxx xxx
benefit the harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the
benefit which they may have received. ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless
imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would
The courts shall determine, in their sound discretion, the proportionate amount constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its
for which each one shall be liable. maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period; if it would have
constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and
When the respective shares can not be equitably determined, even medium periods shall be imposed.
approximately, or when the liability also attaches to the Government, or to the
majority of the inhabitants of the town, and, in all events, whenever the damage Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act
has been caused with the consent of the authorities or their agents, which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty
indemnification shall be made in the manner prescribed by special laws or of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have
regulations. constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum
period shall be imposed."
Third. In cases falling within subdivisions 5 and 6 of article 12, the persons
using violence or causing the fear shall be primarily liable and secondarily, or, if It will thus be seen that while the terms of articles 1902 of the Civil Code seem
there be no such persons, those doing the act shall be liable, saving always to the to be broad enough to cover the driver's negligence in the instant case,
latter that part of their property exempt from execution. nevertheless article 1093 limits cuasi-delitos to acts or omissions "not
punishable by law." But inasmuch as article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
ART. 102. Subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors punishes not only reckless but even simple imprudence or negligence, the fault
of establishment. — In default of persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavern or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code has apparently been crowded
keepers, and any other persons or corporation shall be civilly liable for crimes out. It is this overlapping that makes the "confusion worse confounded."
committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal However, a closer study shows that such a concurrence of scope in regard to
ordinances or some general or special police regulation shall have been negligent acts does not destroy the distinction between the civil liability arising
committed by them or their employees. from a crime and the responsibility for cuasi-delitos or culpa extra-contractual.
The same negligent act causing damages may produce civil liability arising from
a crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, or create an action
Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken by for cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil
robbery or theft within their houses lodging therein, or the person, or for the Code.
payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in
advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit of
such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions The individuality of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual looms clear and
which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to unmistakable. This legal institution is of ancient lineage, one of its early
the care of and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall attach in case of ancestors being the Lex Aquilia in the Roman Law. In fact, in Spanish legal
terminology, this responsibility is often referred to as culpa aquiliana. The

Page 26 of 53
Partidas also contributed to the genealogy of the present fault or negligence The juridical concept of civil responsibility has various aspects and comprises
under the Civil Code; for instance, Law 6, Title 15, of Partida 7, says: "Tenudo different persons. Thus, there is a civil responsibility, properly speaking, which
es de fazer emienda, porque, como quier que el non fizo a sabiendas en daño al in no case carries with it any criminal responsibility, and another which is a
otro, pero acaescio por su culpa." necessary consequence of the penal liability as a result of every felony or
The distinctive nature of cuasi-delitos survives in the Civil Code. According to
article 1089, one of the five sources of obligations is this legal institution Maura, an outstanding authority, was consulted on the following case: There had
of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual: "los actos . . . en que intervenga been a collision between two trains belonging respectively to the Ferrocarril
cualquier genero de culpa o negligencia." Then article 1093 provides that this Cantabrico and the Ferrocarril del Norte. An employee of the latter had been
kind of obligation shall be governed by Chapter II of Title XVI of Book IV, prosecuted in a criminal case, in which the company had been made a party as
meaning articles 1902-0910. This portion of the Civil Code is exclusively subsidiarily responsible in civil damages. The employee had been acquitted in
devoted to the legal institution of culpa aquiliana. the criminal case, and the employer, the Ferrocarril del Norte, had also been
exonerated. The question asked was whether the Ferrocarril Cantabrico could
Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa still bring a civil action for damages against the Ferrocarril del Norte. Maura's
aquiliana or cuasi-delito under the Civil Code are: opinion was in the affirmative, stating in part (Maura, Dictamenes, Vol. 6, pp.
1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private
concern. Quedando las cosas asi, a proposito de la realidad pura y neta de los hechos,
todavia menos parece sostenible que exista cosa juzgada acerca de la obligacion
civil de indemnizar los quebrantos y menoscabos inferidos por el choque de los
2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, trenes. El titulo en que se funda la accion para demandar el resarcimiento, no
while the Civil Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage. puede confundirse con las responsabilidades civiles nacidas de delito, siquiera
exista en este, sea el cual sea, una culpa rodeada de notas agravatorias que
3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished motivan sanciones penales, mas o menos severas. La lesion causada por delito o
only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos, falta en los derechos civiles, requiere restituciones, reparaciones o
include all acts in which "any king of fault or negligence intervenes." However, indemnizaciones, que cual la pena misma atañen al orden publico; por tal motivo
it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law produce civil vienen encomendadas, de ordinario, al Ministerio Fiscal; y claro es que si por
responsibility, such as begging in contravention of ordinances, violation of the esta via se enmiendan los quebrantos y menoscabos, el agraviado excusa
game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt. (See Colin and procurar el ya conseguido desagravio; pero esta eventual coincidencia de los
Capitant, "Curso Elemental de Derecho Civil," Vol. 3, p. 728.) efectos, no borra la diversidad originaria de las acciones civiles para pedir
Let us now ascertain what some jurists say on the separate existence of quasi-
delicts and the employer's primary and direct liability under article 1903 of the Estas, para el caso actual (prescindiendo de culpas contractuales, que no
Civil Code. vendrian a cuento y que tiene otro regimen), dimanan, segun el articulo 1902 del
Codigo Civil, de toda accion u omision, causante de daños o perjuicios, en que
Dorado Montero in his essay on "Responsibilidad" in the "Enciclopedia Juridica intervenga culpa o negligencia. Es trivial que acciones semejantes son
Española" (Vol. XXVII, p. 414) says: ejercitadas ante los Tribunales de lo civil cotidianamente, sin que la Justicia
punitiva tenga que mezclarse en los asuntos. Los articulos 18 al 21 y 121 al 128
El concepto juridico de la responsabilidad civil abarca diversos aspectos y del Codigo Penal, atentos al espiritu y a los fines sociales y politicos del mismo,
comprende a diferentes personas. Asi, existe una responsabilidad civil desenvuelven y ordenan la materia de responsabilidades civiles nacidas de
propiamente dicha, que en ningun casl lleva aparejada responsabilidad criminal delito, en terminos separados del regimen por ley comun de la culpa que se
alguna, y otra que es consecuencia indeclinable de la penal que nace de todo denomina aquiliana, por alusion a precedentes legislativos del Corpus Juris.
delito o falta." Seria intempestivo un paralelo entre aquellas ordenaciones, y la de la obligacion

Page 27 of 53
de indemnizar a titulo de culpa civil; pero viene al caso y es necesaria una de las reason, they are ordinarily entrusted to the office of the prosecuting attorney; and
diferenciaciones que en el tal paralelo se notarian. it is clear that if by this means the losses and damages are repaired, the injured
party no longer desires to seek another relief; but this coincidence of effects does
Los articulos 20 y 21 del Codigo Penal, despues de distribuir a su modo las not eliminate the peculiar nature of civil actions to ask for indemnity.
responsabilidades civiles, entre los que sean por diversos conceptos culpables
del delito o falta, las hacen extensivas a las empresas y los establecimientos al Such civil actions in the present case (without referring to contractual faults
servicio de los cuales estan los delincuentes; pero con caracter subsidiario, o sea, which are not pertinent and belong to another scope) are derived, according to
segun el texto literal, en defecto de los que sean responsables criminalmente. No article 1902 of the Civil Code, from every act or omission causing losses and
coincide en ello el Codigo Civil, cuyo articulo 1903, dice; La obligacion que damages in which culpa or negligence intervenes. It is unimportant that such
impone el articulo anterior es exigible, no solo por los actos y omisiones actions are every day filed before the civil courts without the criminal courts
propios, sino por los de aquellas personas de quienes se debe responder; interfering therewith. Articles 18 to 21 and 121 to 128 of the Penal Code,
personas en la enumeracion de las cuales figuran los dependientes y empleados bearing in mind the spirit and the social and political purposes of that Code,
de los establecimientos o empresas, sea por actos del servicio, sea con ocasion develop and regulate the matter of civil responsibilities arising from a crime,
de sus funciones. Por esto acontece, y se observa en la jurisprudencia, que las separately from the regime under common law, of culpa which is known
empresas, despues de intervenir en las causas criminales con el caracter as aquiliana, in accordance with legislative precedent of the Corpus Juris. It
subsidiario de su responsabilidad civil por razon del delito, son demandadas y would be unwarranted to make a detailed comparison between the former
condenadas directa y aisladamente, cuando se trata de la obligacion, ante los provisions and that regarding the obligation to indemnify on account of
tribunales civiles. civil culpa; but it is pertinent and necessary to point out to one of such
Siendo como se ve, diverso el titulo de esta obligacion, y formando verdadero
postulado de nuestro regimen judicial la separacion entre justicia punitiva y Articles 20 and 21 of the Penal Code, after distriburing in their own way the
tribunales de lo civil, de suerte que tienen unos y otros normas de fondo en civil responsibilities among those who, for different reasons, are guilty of felony
distintos cuerpos legales, y diferentes modos de proceder, habiendose, por or misdemeanor, make such civil responsibilities applicable to enterprises and
añadidura, abstenido de asistir al juicio criminal la Compañia del Ferrocarril establishments for which the guilty parties render service, but with subsidiary
Cantabrico, que se reservo ejercitar sus acciones, parece innegable que la de character, that is to say, according to the wording of the Penal Code, in default of
indemnizacion por los daños y perjuicios que le irrogo el choque, no estuvo sub those who are criminally responsible. In this regard, the Civil Code does not
judice ante el Tribunal del Jurado, ni fue sentenciada, sino que permanecio coincide because article 1903 says: "The obligation imposed by the next
intacta, al pronunciarse el fallo de 21 de marzo. Aun cuando el veredicto no preceding article is demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but
hubiese sido de inculpabilidad, mostrose mas arriba, que tal accion quedaba also for those of persons for whom another is responsible." Among the persons
legitimamente reservada para despues del proceso; pero al declararse que no enumerated are the subordinates and employees of establishments or enterprises,
existio delito, ni responsabilidad dimanada de delito, materia unica sobre que either for acts during their service or on the occasion of their functions. It is for
tenian jurisdiccion aquellos juzgadores, se redobla el motivo para la obligacion this reason that it happens, and it is so observed in judicial decisions, that the
civil ex lege, y se patentiza mas y mas que la accion para pedir su cumplimiento companies or enterprises, after taking part in the criminal cases because of their
permanece incolume, extraña a la cosa juzgada. subsidiary civil responsibility by reason of the crime, are sued and
sentenced directly and separately with regard to the obligation, before the civil
As things are, apropos of the reality pure and simple of the facts, it seems less courts.
tenable that there should be res judicata with regard to the civil obligation for
damages on account of the losses caused by the collision of the trains. The title Seeing that the title of this obligation is different, and the separation between
upon which the action for reparation is based cannot be confused with the civil punitive justice and the civil courts being a true postulate of our judicial system,
responsibilities born of a crime, because there exists in the latter, whatever each so that they have different fundamental norms in different codes, as well as
nature, a culpa surrounded with aggravating aspects which give rise to penal different modes of procedure, and inasmuch as the Compaña del Ferrocarril
measures that are more or less severe. The injury caused by a felony or Cantabrico has abstained from taking part in the criminal case and has reserved
misdemeanor upon civil rights requires restitutions, reparations, or the right to exercise its actions, it seems undeniable that the action for
indemnifications which, like the penalty itself, affect public order; for this indemnification for the losses and damages caused to it by the collision was

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not sub judice before the Tribunal del Jurado, nor was it the subject of a a responsibility for the act of another; in reality the responsibility exacted is for
sentence, but it remained intact when the decision of March 21 was rendered. one's own act. The idea that such responsibility is subsidiary is, therefore,
Even if the verdict had not been that of acquittal, it has already been shown that completely inadmissible.
such action had been legitimately reserved till after the criminal prosecution; but
because of the declaration of the non-existence of the felony and the non- Oyuelos, in his "Digesto: Principios, Doctrina y Jurisprudencia, Referentes al
existence of the responsibility arising from the crime, which was the sole subject Codigo Civil Español," says in Vol. VII, p. 743:
matter upon which the Tribunal del Jurado had jurisdiction, there is greater
reason for the civil obligation ex lege, and it becomes clearer that the action for
That is to say, one is not responsible for the acts of others, because one is liable
its enforcement remain intact and is not res judicata.
only for his own faults, this being the doctrine of article 1902; but, by exception,
one is liable for the acts of those persons with whom there is a bond or tie which
Laurent, a jurist who has written a monumental work on the French Civil Code, gives rise to the responsibility. Is this responsibility direct or subsidiary? In the
on which the Spanish Civil Code is largely based and whose provisions order of the penal law, the Penal Code distinguishes between minors and
on cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual are similar to those of the Spanish incapacitated persons on the one hand, and other persons on the other, declaring
Civil Code, says, referring to article 1384 of the French Civil Code which that the responsibility for the former is direct (article 19), and for the latter,
corresponds to article 1903, Spanish Civil Code: subsidiary (articles 20 and 21); but in the scheme of the civil law, in the case of
article 1903, the responsibility should be understood as direct, according to the
The action can be brought directly against the person responsible (for another), tenor of that articles, for precisely it imposes responsibility "for the acts of those
without including the author of the act. The action against the principal is persons for whom one should be responsible."
accessory in the sense that it implies the existence of a prejudicial act committed
by the employee, but it is not subsidiary in the sense that it can not be instituted Coming now to the sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain, that court has
till after the judgment against the author of the act or at least, that it is subsidiary upheld the principles above set forth: that a quasi-delict or culpa extra-
to the principal action; the action for responsibility (of the employer) is in itself a contractual is a separate and distinct legal institution, independent from the civil
principal action. (Laurent, Principles of French Civil Law, Spanish translation, responsibility arising from criminal liability, and that an employer is, under
Vol. 20, pp. 734-735.) article 1903 of the Civil Code, primarily and directly responsible for the
negligent acts of his employee.
Amandi, in his "Cuestionario del Codigo Civil Reformado" (Vol. 4, pp. 429,
430), declares that the responsibility of the employer is principal and not One of the most important of those Spanish decisions is that of October 21,
subsidiary. He writes: 1910. In that case, Ramon Lafuente died as the result of having been run over by
a street car owned by the "compañia Electric Madrileña de Traccion." The
Question No. 1. Is the responsibility declared in article 1903 for the acts or conductor was prosecuted in a criminal case but he was acquitted. Thereupon,
omissions of those persons for who one is responsible, subsidiary or principal? the widow filed a civil action against the street car company, paying for damages
In order to answer this question it is necessary to know, in the first place, on in the amount of 15,000 pesetas. The lower court awarded damages; so the
what the legal provision is based. Is it true that there is a responsibility for the company appealed to the Supreme Tribunal, alleging violation of articles 1902
fault of another person? It seems so at first sight; but such assertion would be and 1903 of the Civil Code because by final judgment the non-existence of fault
contrary to justice and to the universal maxim that all faults are personal, and or negligence had been declared. The Supreme Court of Spain dismissed the
that everyone is liable for those faults that can be imputed to him. The appeal, saying:
responsibility in question is imposed on the occasion of a crime or fault, but not
because of the same, but because of the cuasi-delito, that is to say, the Considering that the first ground of the appeal is based on the mistaken
imprudence or negligence of the father, guardian, proprietor or manager of the supposition that the trial court, in sentencing the Compañia Madrileña to the
establishment, of the teacher, etc. Whenever anyone of the persons enumerated payment of the damage caused by the death of Ramon Lafuente Izquierdo,
in the article referred to (minors, incapacitated persons, employees, apprentices) disregards the value and juridical effects of the sentence of acquittal rendered in
causes any damage, the law presumes that the father, guardian, teacher, etc. have the criminal case instituted on account of the same act, when it is a fact that the
committed an act of negligence in not preventing or avoiding the damage. It is two jurisdictions had taken cognizance of the same act in its different aspects,
this fault that is condemned by the law. It is, therefore, only apparent that there is and as the criminal jurisdiction declared within the limits of its authority that the
Page 29 of 53
act in question did not constitute a felony because there was no grave against him because his taxi driver had been convicted. The degree of negligence
carelessness or negligence, and this being the only basis of acquittal, it does no of the conductor in the Spanish case cited was less than that of the taxi driver,
exclude the co-existence of fault or negligence which is not qualified, and is a Fontanilla, because the former was acquitted in the previous criminal case while
source of civil obligations according to article 1902 of the Civil Code, affecting, the latter was found guilty of criminal negligence and was sentenced to an
in accordance with article 1903, among other persons, the managers of indeterminate sentence of one year and one day to two years of prision
establishments or enterprises by reason of the damages caused by employees correccional.
under certain conditions, it is manifest that the civil jurisdiccion in taking
cognizance of the same act in this latter aspect and in ordering the company, (See also Sentence of February 19, 1902, which is similar to the one above
appellant herein, to pay an indemnity for the damage caused by one of its quoted.)
employees, far from violating said legal provisions, in relation with article 116 of
the Law of Criminal Procedure, strictly followed the same, without invading
In the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain, dated February 14, 1919, an
attributes which are beyond its own jurisdiction, and without in any way
action was brought against a railroad company for damages because the station
contradicting the decision in that cause. (Emphasis supplied.)
agent, employed by the company, had unjustly and fraudulently, refused to
deliver certain articles consigned to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court of Spain
It will be noted, as to the case just cited: held that this action was properly under article 1902 of the Civil Code, the court
First. That the conductor was not sued in a civil case, either separately or with
the street car company. This is precisely what happens in the present case: the Considering that the sentence, in question recognizes, in virtue of the facts
driver, Fontanilla, has not been sued in a civil action, either alone or with his which it declares, in relation to the evidence in the case: (1) that the invoice
employer. issued by the railroad company in favor of the plaintiff contemplated that the
empty receptacles referred to in the complaint should be returned to the
Second. That the conductor had been acquitted of grave criminal negligence, but consignors with wines and liquors; (2) that when the said merchandise reached
the Supreme Tribunal of Spain said that this did not exclude the co-existence of their destination, their delivery to the consignee was refused by the station agent
fault or negligence, which is not qualified, on the part of the conductor, under without justification and with fraudulent intent, and (3) that the lack of delivery
article 1902 of the Civil Code. In the present case, the taxi driver was found of these goods when they were demanded by the plaintiff caused him losses and
guilty of criminal negligence, so that if he had even sued for his civil damages of considerable importance, as he was a wholesale vendor of wines and
responsibility arising from the crime, he would have been held primarily liable liquors and he failed to realize the profits when he was unable to fill the orders
for civil damages, and Barredo would have been held subsidiarily liable for the sent to him by the consignors of the receptacles:
same. But the plaintiffs are directly suing Barredo, on his primary responsibility
because of his own presumed negligence — which he did not overcome — Considering that upon this basis there is need of upholding the four assignments
under article 1903. Thus, there were two liabilities of Barredo: first, the of error, as the original complaint did not contain any cause of action arising
subsidiary one because of the civil liability of the taxi driver arising from the from non-fulfillment of a contract of transportation, because the action was not
latter's criminal negligence; and, second, Barredo's primary liability as an based on the delay of the goods nor on any contractual relation between the
employer under article 1903. The plaintiffs were free to choose which course to parties litigant and, therefore, article 371 of the Code of Commerce, on which
take, and they preferred the second remedy. In so doing, they were acting within the decision appealed from is based, is not applicable; but it limits to asking for
their rights. It might be observed in passing, that the plaintiff choose the more reparation for losses and damages produced on the patrimony of the plaintiff on
expeditious and effective method of relief, because Fontanilla was either in account of the unjustified and fraudulent refusal of the carrier to deliver the
prison, or had just been released, and besides, he was probably without property goods consigned to the plaintiff as stated by the sentence, and the carrier's
which might be seized in enforcing any judgment against him for damages. responsibility is clearly laid down in article 1902 of the Civil Code which binds,
in virtue of the next article, the defendant company, because the latter is
Third. That inasmuch as in the above sentence of October 21, 1910, the connected with the person who caused the damage by relations of economic
employer was held liable civilly, notwithstanding the acquittal of the employee character and by administrative hierarchy. (Emphasis supplied.)
(the conductor) in a previous criminal case, with greater reason should Barredo,
the employer in the case at bar, be held liable for damages in a civil suit filed
Page 30 of 53
The above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act may come under "Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the
both the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent was damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the
unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could have been the subject of a latter may be employed or in the performance of their duties.
criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper subject of a civil action
under article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was the xxx xxx xxx
employer and not the employee who was being sued.
"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
Let us now examine the cases previously decided by this Court. therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
avoid the damage."
In the leading case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil., 359,
362-365 [year 1907]), the trial court awarded damages to the plaintiff, a laborer As an answer to the argument urged in this particular action it may be sufficient
of the defendant, because the latter had negligently failed to repair a tramway in to point out that nowhere in our general statutes is the employer penalized for
consequence of which the rails slid off while iron was being transported, and failure to provide or maintain safe appliances for his workmen. His obligation
caught the plaintiff whose leg was broken. This Court held: therefore is one 'not punished by the laws' and falls under civil rather than
criminal jurisprudence. But the answer may be a broader one. We should be
It is contended by the defendant, as its first defense to the action that the reluctant, under any conditions, to adopt a forced construction of these scientific
necessary conclusion from these collated laws is that the remedy for injuries codes, such as is proposed by the defendant, that would rob some of these
through negligence lies only in a criminal action in which the official criminally articles of effect, would shut out litigants against their will from the civil courts,
responsible must be made primarily liable and his employer held only would make the assertion of their rights dependent upon the selection for
subsidiarily to him. According to this theory the plaintiff should have procured prosecution of the proper criminal offender, and render recovery doubtful by
the arrest of the representative of the company accountable for not repairing the reason of the strict rules of proof prevailing in criminal actions. Even if these
track, and on his prosecution a suitable fine should have been imposed, payable articles had always stood alone, such a construction would be unnecessary, but
primarily by him and secondarily by his employer. clear light is thrown upon their meaning by the provisions of the Law of
Criminal Procedure of Spain (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal), which, though
This reasoning misconceived the plan of the Spanish codes upon this subject. never in actual force in these Islands, was formerly given a suppletory or
Article 1093 of the Civil Code makes obligations arising from faults or explanatory effect. Under article 111 of this law, both classes of action, civil and
negligence not punished by the law, subject to the provisions of Chapter II of criminal, might be prosecuted jointly or separately, but while the penal action
Title XVI. Section 1902 of that chapter reads: was pending the civil was suspended. According to article 112, the penal action
once started, the civil remedy should be sought therewith, unless it had been
waived by the party injured or been expressly reserved by him for civil
"A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when there is proceedings for the future. If the civil action alone was prosecuted, arising out of
fault or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done. a crime that could be enforced only on private complaint, the penal action
thereunder should be extinguished. These provisions are in harmony with those
"SEC. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceeding article is demandable, of articles 23 and 133 of our Penal Code on the same subject.
not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for
whom they should be responsible. An examination of this topic might be carried much further, but the citation of
these articles suffices to show that the civil liability was not intended to be
"The father, and on his death or incapacity, the mother, is liable for the damages merged in the criminal nor even to be suspended thereby, except as expressly
caused by the minors who live with them. provided in the law. Where an individual is civilly liable for a negligent act or
omission, it is not required that the injured party should seek out a third person
xxx xxx xxx criminally liable whose prosecution must be a condition precedent to the
enforcement of the civil right.

Page 31 of 53
Under article 20 of the Penal Code the responsibility of an employer may be Solana Street northward, he should have adjusted the speed of the auto which he
regarded as subsidiary in respect of criminal actions against his employees only was operating until he had fully crossed Real Street and had completely reached
while they are in process of prosecution, or in so far as they determine the a clear way on Solana Street. But, as the child was run over by the auto precisely
existence of the criminal act from which liability arises, and his obligation under at the entrance of Solana Street, this accident could not have occurred if the auto
the civil law and its enforcement in the civil courts is not barred thereby unless had been running at a slow speed, aside from the fact that the defendant, at the
by the election of the injured person. Inasmuch as no criminal proceeding had moment of crossing Real Street and entering Solana Street, in a northward
been instituted, growing our of the accident in question, the provisions of the direction, could have seen the child in the act of crossing the latter street from
Penal Code can not affect this action. This construction renders it unnecessary to the sidewalk on the right to that on the left, and if the accident had occurred in
finally determine here whether this subsidiary civil liability in penal actions has such a way that after the automobile had run over the body of the child, and the
survived the laws that fully regulated it or has been abrogated by the American child's body had already been stretched out on the ground, the automobile still
civil and criminal procedure now in force in the Philippines. moved along a distance of about 2 meters, this circumstance shows the fact that
the automobile entered Solana Street from Real Street, at a high speed without
The difficulty in construing the articles of the code above cited in this case the defendant having blown the horn. If these precautions had been taken by the
appears from the briefs before us to have arisen from the interpretation of the defendant, the deplorable accident which caused the death of the child would not
words of article 1093, "fault or negligence not punished by law," as applied to have occurred.
the comprehensive definition of offenses in articles 568 and 590 of the Penal
Code. It has been shown that the liability of an employer arising out of his It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been
relation to his employee who is the offender is not to be regarded as derived prosecuted in a criminal case because his negligence causing the death of the
from negligence punished by the law, within the meaning of articles 1902 and child was punishable by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of the
1093. More than this, however, it cannot be said to fall within the class of acts same act of negligence being a proper subject-matter either of a criminal action
unpunished by the law, the consequence of which are regulated by articles 1902 with its consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an entirely separate
and 1903 of the Civil Code. The acts to which these articles are applicable are and independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the
understood to be those not growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individually of a cuasi-
one another. But where relations already formed give rise to duties, whether delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly
springing from contract or quasi contract, then breaches of those duties are recognized, even with regard to a negligent act for which the wrongdoer could
subject to articles 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. A typical application have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for which, after such
of this distinction may be found in the consequences of a railway accident due to a conviction, he could have been sued for this civil liability arising from his
defective machinery supplied by the employer. His liability to his employee crime.
would arise out of the contract of employment, that to the passengers out of the
contract for passage, while that to the injured bystander would originate in the Years later (in 1930) this Court had another occasion to apply the same doctrine.
negligent act itself. In Bernal and Enverso vs. House and Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., 54
Phil., 327, the parents of the five-year-old child, Purificacion Bernal, brought a
In Manzanares vs. Moreta, 38 Phil., 821 (year 1918), the mother of the 8 of 9- civil action to recover damages for the child's death as a result of burns caused
year-old child Salvador Bona brought a civil action against Moreta to recover by the fault and negligence of the defendants. On the evening of April 10, 1925,
damages resulting from the death of the child, who had been run over by an the Good Friday procession was held in Tacloban, Leyte. Fortunata Enverso with
automobile driven and managed by the defendant. The trial court rendered her daughter Purificacion Bernal had come from another municipality to attend
judgment requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P1,000 as the same. After the procession the mother and the daughter with two others were
indemnity: This Court in affirming the judgment, said in part: passing along Gran Capitan Street in front of the offices of the Tacloban Electric
& Ice Plant, Ltd., owned by defendants J. V. House, when an automobile
If it were true that the defendant, in coming from the southern part of Solana appeared from the opposite direction. The little girl, who was slightly ahead of
Street, had to stop his auto before crossing Real Street, because he had met the rest, was so frightened by the automobile that she turned to run, but
vehicles which were going along the latter street or were coming from the unfortunately she fell into the street gutter where hot water from the electric
opposite direction along Solana Street, it is to be believed that, when he again plant was flowing. The child died that same night from the burns. The trial
started to run his auto across said Real Street and to continue its way along courts dismissed the action because of the contributory negligence of the
plaintiffs. But this Court held, on appeal, that there was no contributory
Page 32 of 53
negligence, and allowed the parents P1,000 in damages from J. V. House who at the evidence that the defendant had no notice, either actual or constructive, of
the time of the tragic occurrence was the holder of the franchise for the electric the defective condition of the steering gear.
plant. This Court said in part:
The legal aspect of the case was discussed by this Court thus:
Although the trial judge made the findings of fact hereinbefore outlined, he
nevertheless was led to order the dismissal of the action because of the Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of
contributory negligence of the plaintiffs. It is from this point that a majority of negligence, but also provides when the liability shall cease. It says:
the court depart from the stand taken by the trial judge. The mother and her child
had a perfect right to be on the principal street of Tacloban, Leyte, on the
"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
evening when the religious procession was held. There was nothing abnormal in
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
allowing the child to run along a few paces in advance of the mother. No one
avoid the damage."
could foresee the coincidence of an automobile appearing and of a frightened
child running and falling into a ditch filled with hot water. The doctrine
announced in the much debated case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by
([1907]), 7 Phil., 359), still rule. Article 1902 of the Civil Code must again be the negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of
enforced. The contributory negligence of the child and her mother, if any, does law that there was negligence on the part of the matter or employer either in the
not operate as a bar to recovery, but in its strictest sense could only result in selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the
reduction of the damages. selection, or both; and (2) that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de
jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the
employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision
It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied
he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have
presumption is overcome and he is relieve from liability.
been criminally prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not only
punished but also made civilly liable because of his criminal negligence,
nevertheless this Court awarded damages in an independent civil action for fault This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own
or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. negligence and not on that of his servant.

In Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil., 624 [year 1915), the action was for The doctrine of the case just cited was followed by this Court in Cerf vs.
damages for the death of the plaintiff's daughter alleged to have been caused by Medel (33 Phil., 37 [year 1915]). In the latter case, the complaint alleged that the
the negligence of the servant in driving an automobile over the child. It appeared defendant's servant had so negligently driven an automobile, which was operated
that the cause of the mishap was a defect in the steering gear. The defendant by defendant as a public vehicle, that said automobile struck and damaged the
Leynes had rented the automobile from the International Garage of Manila, to be plaintiff's motorcycle. This Court, applying article 1903 and following the rule
used by him in carrying passengers during the fiesta of Tuy, Batangas. Leynes in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, said in part (p. 41) that:
was ordered by the lower court to pay P1,000 as damages to the plaintiff. On
appeal this Court reversed the judgment as to Leynes on the ground that he had The master is liable for the negligent acts of his servant where he is the owner or
shown that the exercised the care of a good father of a family, thus overcoming director of a business or enterprise and the negligent acts are committed while
the presumption of negligence under article 1903. This Court said: the servant is engaged in his master's employment as such owner.

As to selection, the defendant has clearly shown that he exercised the care and Another case which followed the decision in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes was
diligence of a good father of a family. He obtained the machine from a reputable Cuison vs. Norton & Harrison Co., 55 Phil., 18 (year 1930). The latter case was
garage and it was, so far as appeared, in good condition. The workmen were an action for damages brought by Cuison for the death of his seven-year-old son
likewise selected from a standard garage, were duly licensed by the Government Moises. The little boy was on his way to school with his sister Marciana. Some
in their particular calling, and apparently thoroughly competent. The machine large pieces of lumber fell from a truck and pinned the boy underneath, instantly
had been used but a few hours when the accident occurred and it is clear from killing him. Two youths, Telesforo Binoya and Francisco Bautista, who were
working for Ora, an employee of defendant Norton & Harrison Co., pleaded
Page 33 of 53
guilty to the crime of homicide through reckless negligence and were sentenced With this preliminary point out of the way, there is no escaping the conclusion
accordingly. This Court, applying articles 1902 and 1903, held: that the provisions of the Penal Code govern. The Penal Code in easily
understandable language authorizes the determination of subsidiary liability. The
The basis of civil law liability is not respondent superior but the relationship Civil Code negatives its application by providing that civil obligations arising
of pater familias. This theory bases the liability of the master ultimately on his from crimes or misdemeanors shall be governed by the provisions of the Penal
own negligence and not on that of his servant. (Bahia vs.Litonjua and Leynes Code. The conviction of the motorman was a misdemeanor falling under article
[1915], 30 Phil., 624; Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co. [1918], 38 Phil., 768.) 604 of the Penal Code. The act of the motorman was not a wrongful or negligent
act or omission not punishable by law. Accordingly, the civil obligation
connected up with the Penal Code and not with article 1903 of the Civil Code. In
In Walter A. Smith & Co. vs. Cadwallader Gibson Lumber Co., 55 Phil., 517 other words, the Penal Code affirms its jurisdiction while the Civil Code
(year 1930) the plaintiff brought an action for damages for the demolition of its negatives its jurisdiction. This is a case of criminal negligence out of which civil
wharf, which had been struck by the steamer Helen C belonging to the liability arises and not a case of civil negligence.
defendant. This Court held (p. 526):
xxx xxx xxx
The evidence shows that Captain Lasa at the time the plaintiff's wharf collapsed
was a duly licensed captain, authorized to navigate and direct a vessel of any
tonnage, and that the appellee contracted his services because of his reputation Our deduction, therefore, is that the case relates to the Penal Code and not to the
as a captain, according to F. C. Cadwallader. This being so, we are of the opinion Civil Code. Indeed, as pointed out by the trial judge, any different ruling would
that the presumption of liability against the defendant has been overcome by the permit the master to escape scot-free by simply alleging and proving that the
exercise of the care and diligence of a good father of a family in selecting master had exercised all diligence in the selection and training of its servants to
Captain Lasa, in accordance with the doctrines laid down by this court in the prevent the damage. That would be a good defense to a strictly civil action, but
cases cited above, and the defendant is therefore absolved from all liability. might or might not be to a civil action either as a part of or predicated on
conviction for a crime or misdemeanor. (By way of parenthesis, it may be said
further that the statements here made are offered to meet the argument advanced
It is, therefore, seen that the defendant's theory about his secondary liability is during our deliberations to the effect that article 0902 of the Civil Code should
negatived by the six cases above set forth. He is, on the authority of these cases, be disregarded and codal articles 1093 and 1903 applied.)
primarily and directly responsible in damages under article 1903, in relation to
article 1902, of the Civil Code.
It is not clear how the above case could support the defendant's proposition,
because the Court of Appeals based its decision in the present case on the
Let us now take up the Philippine decisions relied upon by the defendant. We defendant's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code and not
study first, City of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., 52 Phil., 586 (year 1928). A on his subsidiary liability arising from Fontanilla's criminal negligence. In other
collision between a truck of the City of Manila and a street car of the Manila words, the case of City of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., supra, is predicated on
Electric Co. took place on June 8, 1925. The truck was damaged in the amount an entirely different theory, which is the subsidiary liability of an employer
of P1,788.27. Sixto Eustaquio, the motorman, was prosecuted for the crime of arising from a criminal act of his employee, whereas the foundation of the
damage to property and slight injuries through reckless imprudence. He was decision of the Court of Appeals in the present case is the employer's primary
found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of P900, to indemnify the City of liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code. We have already seen that this is a
Manila for P1,788.27, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. proper and independent remedy.
Unable to collect the indemnity from Eustaquio, the City of Manila filed an
action against the Manila Electric Company to obtain payment, claiming that the
defendant was subsidiarily liable. The main defense was that the defendant had Arambulo vs. Manila Electric Co. (55 Phil., 75), is another case invoked by the
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage. The defendant. A motorman in the employ of the Manila Electric Company had been
lower court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. This Court held, in part, convicted o homicide by simple negligence and sentenced, among other things,
that this case was governed by the Penal Code, saying: to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of P1,000. An action was then brought
to enforce the subsidiary liability of the defendant as employer under the Penal
Code. The defendant attempted to show that it had exercised the diligence of a

Page 34 of 53
good father of a family in selecting the motorman, and therefore claimed that have been little understood in the past, it might not be inappropriate to
exemption from civil liability. But this Court held: indicate their foundations.

In view of the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold, (1) that Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in article 365 punishes not only reckless but also
the exemption from civil liability established in article 1903 of the Civil Code simple negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil
for all who have acted with the diligence of a good father of a family, is not Code refer only to fault or negligence not punished by law, according to the
applicable to the subsidiary civil liability provided in article 20 of the Penal literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa
Code. aquiliana would have very little scope and application in actual life. Death or
injury to persons and damage to property through any degree of negligence —
The above case is also extraneous to the theory of the defendant in the instant even the slightest — would have to be indemnified only through the principle of
case, because the action there had for its purpose the enforcement of the civil liability arising from a crime. In such a state of affairs, what sphere would
defendant's subsidiary liability under the Penal Code, while in the case at bar, the remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are loath to impute to the
plaintiff's cause of action is based on the defendant's primary and direct lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and anomalous. Nor
responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code. In fact, the above case are we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter that killeth
destroys the defendant's contention because that decision illustrates the principle rather than the spirit that giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning of the
that the employer's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code is law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and
different in character from his subsidiary liability under the Penal Code. such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is
conserved and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil
In trying to apply the two cases just referred to, counsel for the defendant has
failed to recognize the distinction between civil liability arising from a crime,
which is governed by the Penal Code, and the responsibility for cuasi- Secondly, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond
delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code, and has likewise failed to give reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is
the importance to the latter type of civil action. sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases of
criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can
be proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and
The defendant-petitioner also cites Francisco vs. Onrubia (46 Phil., 327). That should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the
case need not be set forth. Suffice it to say that the question involved was also Civil Code. Otherwise, there would be many instances of unvindicated civil
civil liability arising from a crime. Hence, it is as inapplicable as the two cases wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
above discussed.
Thirdly, to hold that there is only one way to make defendant's liability effective,
The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate individuality of cuasi- and that is, to sue the driver and exhaust his (the latter's) property first, would be
delitos or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that tantamount to compelling the plaintiff to follow a devious and cumbersome
there is a distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence method of obtaining relief. True, there is such a remedy under our laws, but there
(governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under is also a more expeditious way, which is based on the primary and direct
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may responsibility of the defendant under article 1903 of the Civil Code. Our view of
produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a the law is more likely to facilitate remedy for civil wrongs, because the
separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the procedure indicated by the defendant is wasteful and productive of delay, it
Civil Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited render it being a matter of common knowledge that professional drivers of taxis and
inescapable to conclude that the employer — in this case the defendant- similar public conveyance usually do not have sufficient means with which to
petitioner — is primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code. pay damages. Why, then, should the plaintiff be required in all cases to go
through this roundabout, unnecessary, and probably useless procedure? In
The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be construing the laws, courts have endeavored to shorten and facilitate the
sufficient to dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines pathways of right and justice.

Page 35 of 53
At this juncture, it should be said that the primary and direct responsibility of In view of the foregoing, the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be and is
employers and their presumed negligence are principles calculated to protect hereby affirmed, with costs against the defendant-petitioner.
society. Workmen and employees should be carefully chosen and supervised in
order to avoid injury to the public. It is the masters or employers who principally Yulo, C.J., Moran, Ozaeta and Paras, JJ., concur.
reap the profits resulting from the services of these servants and employees. It is
but right that they should guarantee the latter's careful conduct for the personnel
and patrimonial safety of others. As Theilhard has said, "they should reproach
14, 1918
themselves, at least, some for their weakness, others for their poor selection and
all for their negligence." And according to Manresa, "It is much more equitable
and just that such responsibility should fall upon the principal or director who
could have chosen a careful and prudent employee, and not upon the injured
On January 20, 1915, Jose Cangco was riding the train of Manila Railroad
person who could not exercise such selection and who used such employee
Company where he was an employee. As the train drew near to his destination,
because of his confidence in the principal or director." (Vol. 12, p. 622, 2nd Ed.)
he arose from his seat. When he was about to alight from the train, Cangco
Many jurists also base this primary responsibility of the employer on the
accidentally stepped on a sack of watermelons which he failed to notice because
principle of representation of the principal by the agent. Thus, Oyuelos says in
it was already 7:00pm and it was dim when it happened. As a result, he slipped
the work already cited (Vol. 7, p. 747) that before third persons the employer and
and fell violently on the platform. His right arm was badly crushed and lacerated
employee "vienen a ser como una sola personalidad, por refundicion de la del
which was eventually amputated.
dependiente en la de quien le emplea y utiliza." ("become as one personality by
the merging of the person of the employee in that of him who employs and
Cangco sued Manila Railroad Company on the ground of negligence of its
utilizes him.") All these observations acquire a peculiar force and significance
employees placing the sacks of melons upon the platform and in leaving them so
when it comes to motor accidents, and there is need of stressing and accentuating
placed as to be a menace to the security of passenger alighting from the
the responsibility of owners of motor vehicles.
company’s trains.
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code The company’s defense was that granting that its employees were negligent in
and the Civil Code on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or placing an obstruction upon the platform, the direct and proximate cause of the
concurrence of spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding of the injury suffered by plaintiff was his own contributing negligence.
character and efficacy of the action for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a
common practice to seek damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility ISSUE: Whether or not there was a contributing negligence on the part of the
arising from a crime, forgetting that there is another remedy, which is by plaintiff.
invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. Although this habitual method is
allowed by our laws, it has nevertheless rendered practically useless and HELD: In determining the question of contributory negligence in performing
nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy based on culpa such act – that is to say, whether the passenger acted prudently or recklessly –
aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are asked to help the age, sex, and physical condition of the passenger are circumstances
perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to the necessarily affecting the safety of the passenger, and should be considered.
harm done by such practice and to restore the principle of responsibility for fault
or negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is
high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its The place was perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as it was his daily custom to get
own natural channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a on and off the train at the station. There could, therefore, be no uncertainty in his
crime under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for the better mind with regard either to the length of the step which he was required to take or
safeguarding of private rights because it re-establishes an ancient and additional the character of the platform where he was alighting. The Supreme Court’s
remedy, and for the further reason that an independent civil action, not conclusion was that the conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the
depending on the issues, limitations and results of a criminal prosecution, and train was yet slightly under way was not characterized by imprudence and that
entirely directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure therefore he was not guilty of contributory negligence.
adequate and efficacious redress.

Page 36 of 53
On January 20, 1915, Cangco was riding the train of Manila Railroad Co whatever done within the scope of his employment or not, if the damage done by
(MRC). He was an employee of the latter and he was given a pass so that he the servant does not amount to a breach of the contract between the master and
could ride the train for free. When he was nearing his destination at about 7pm, the person injured.
he arose from his seat even though the train was not at full stop. When he was
about to alight from the train (which was still slightly moving) he accidentally The liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a
stepped on a sack of watermelons which he failed to notice due to the fact that it voluntary act or omission which, without willful intent, but by mere negligence
was dim. This caused him to lose his balance at the door and he fell and his arm or inattention, has caused damage to another.
was crushed by the train and he suffered other serious injuries. He was dragged a These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact
few meters more as the train slowed down. that a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extra-
It was established that the employees of MRC were negligent in piling the sacks contractual liability to such person. When such a contractual relation exists the
of watermelons. MRC raised as a defense the fact that Cangco was also obligor may break the contract under such conditions that the same act which
negligent as he failed to exercise diligence in alighting from the train as he did constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract existed
not wait for it to stop. between the parties.

ISSUE: Whether or not Manila Railroad Co is liable for damages. Manresa: Whether negligence occurs an incident in the course of the
performance of a contractual undertaking or in itself the source of an extra-
HELD: Yes. Alighting from a moving train while it is slowing down is a contractual undertaking obligation, its essential characteristics are identical.
common practice and a lot of people are doing so every day without suffering
injury. Cangco has the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no Vinculum Juris: (def) It means “an obligation of law”, or the right of the
means so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act obligee to enforce a civil matter in a court of law.
would have been in an aged or feeble person. He was also ignorant of the fact At the time of the occurrence which gave rise to this litigation the plaintiff, Jose
that sacks of watermelons were there as there were no appropriate warnings and Cangco, was in the employment of Manila Railroad Company in the capacity of
the place was dimly lit. clerk, with a monthly wage of P25. He lived in the pueblo of San Mateo, in the
The Court also elucidated on the distinction between the liability of employers province of Rizal, which is located upon the line of the defendant railroad
under Article 2180 and their liability for breach of contract [of carriage]: company; and in coming daily by train to the company's office in the city of
Manila where he worked, he used a pass, supplied by the company, which
entitled him to ride upon the company's trains free of charge. Upon the occasion
in question, January 20, 1915, the plaintiff arose from his seat in the second
class-car where he was riding and, making, his exit through the door, took his
position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail with his right
hand for support.

On the side of the train where passengers alight at the San Mateo station there is
a cement platform which begins to rise with a moderate gradient some distance
away from the company's office and extends along in front of said office for a
distance sufficient to cover the length of several coaches. As the train slowed
down another passenger, named Emilio Zuñiga, also an employee of the railroad
company, got off the same car, alighting safely at the point where the platform
begins to rise from the level of the ground. When the train had proceeded a little
farther the plaintiff Jose Cangco stepped off also, but one or both of his feet
came in contact with a sack of watermelons with the result that his feet slipped
from under him and he fell violently on the platform. His body at once rolled
NOTES: But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in from the platform and was drawn under the moving car, where his right arm was
the selection and direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter,
Page 37 of 53
badly crushed and lacerated. It appears that after the plaintiff alighted from the their presence caused the plaintiff to fall as he alighted from the train; and that
train the car moved forward possibly six meters before it came to a full stop. they therefore constituted an effective legal cause of the injuries sustained by the
plaintiff. It necessarily follows that the defendant company is liable for the
The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock on a dark night, and as the damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is barred by the plaintiff's own
railroad station was lighted dimly by a single light located some distance away, contributory negligence. In resolving this problem it is necessary that each of
objects on the platform where the accident occurred were difficult to discern these conceptions of liability, to-wit, the primary responsibility of the defendant
especially to a person emerging from a lighted car. company and the contributory negligence of the plaintiff should be separately
The explanation of the presence of a sack of melons on the platform where the
plaintiff alighted is found in the fact that it was the customary season for It is important to note that the foundation of the legal liability of the defendant is
harvesting these melons and a large lot had been brought to the station for the the contract of carriage, and that the obligation to respond for the damage which
shipment to the market. They were contained in numerous sacks which has been plaintiff has suffered arises, if at all, from the breach of that contract by reason of
piled on the platform in a row one upon another. The testimony shows that this the failure of defendant to exercise due care in its performance. That is to say, its
row of sacks was so placed of melons and the edge of platform; and it is clear liability is direct and immediate, differing essentially, in legal viewpoint from
that the fall of the plaintiff was due to the fact that his foot alighted upon one of that presumptive responsibility for the negligence of its servants, imposed by
these melons at the moment he stepped upon the platform. His statement that he article 1903 of the Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the exercise of
failed to see these objects in the darkness is readily to be credited. due care in their selection and supervision. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not
applicable to obligations arising ex contractu, but only to extra-contractual
obligations — or to use the technical form of expression, that article relates only
The plaintiff was drawn from under the car in an unconscious condition, and it to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual.
appeared that the injuries which he had received were very serious. He was
therefore brought at once to a certain hospital in the city of Manila where an
examination was made and his arm was amputated. The result of this operation Manresa (vol. 8, p. 67) in his commentaries upon articles 1103 and 1104 of the
was unsatisfactory, and the plaintiff was then carried to another hospital where a Civil Code, clearly points out this distinction, which was also recognized by this
second operation was performed and the member was again amputated higher up Court in its decision in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7
near the shoulder. It appears in evidence that the plaintiff expended the sum of Phil. rep., 359). In commenting upon article 1093 Manresa clearly points out the
P790.25 in the form of medical and surgical fees and for other expenses in difference between "culpa, substantive and independent, which of itself
connection with the process of his curation. constitutes the source of an obligation between persons not formerly connected
by any legal tie" and culpa considered as an accident in the performance of an
obligation already existing . . . ."
Upon August 31, 1915, he instituted this proceeding in the Court of First
Instance of the city of Manila to recover damages of the defendant company,
founding his action upon the negligence of the servants and employees of the In the Rakes case (supra) the decision of this court was made to rest squarely
defendant in placing the sacks of melons upon the platform and leaving them so upon the proposition that article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts
placed as to be a menace to the security of passenger alighting from the of negligence which constitute the breach of a contract.
company's trains. At the hearing in the Court of First Instance, his Honor, the
trial judge, found the facts substantially as above stated, and drew therefrom his Upon this point the Court said:
conclusion to the effect that, although negligence was attributable to the
defendant by reason of the fact that the sacks of melons were so placed as to The acts to which these articles [1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code] are applicable
obstruct passengers passing to and from the cars, nevertheless, the plaintiff are understood to be those not growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to
himself had failed to use due caution in alighting from the coach and was one another. But where relations already formed give rise to duties, whether
therefore precluded form recovering. Judgment was accordingly entered in favor springing from contract or quasi-contract, then breaches of those duties are
of the defendant company, and the plaintiff appealed. subject to article 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. (Rakes vs. Atlantic,
Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Rep., 359 at 365.)
It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad company were guilty of
negligence in piling these sacks on the platform in the manner above stated; that
Page 38 of 53
This distinction is of the utmost importance. The liability, which, under the the damage caused by the carelessness of his employee while acting within the
Spanish law, is, in certain cases imposed upon employers with respect to scope of his employment. The Court, after citing the last paragraph of article
damages occasioned by the negligence of their employees to persons to whom 1903 of the Civil Code, said:
they are not bound by contract, is not based, as in the English Common Law,
upon the principle of respondeat superior — if it were, the master would be From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by
liable in every case and unconditionally — but upon the principle announced in the negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of
article 1902 of the Civil Code, which imposes upon all persons who by their law that there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in
fault or negligence, do injury to another, the obligation of making good the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the
damage caused. One who places a powerful automobile in the hands of a servant selection, or both; and (2) that that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et
whom he knows to be ignorant of the method of managing such a vehicle, is de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the
himself guilty of an act of negligence which makes him liable for all the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision
consequences of his imprudence. The obligation to make good the damage arises he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the
at the very instant that the unskillful servant, while acting within the scope of his presumption is overcome and he is relieved from liability.
employment causes the injury. The liability of the master is personal and direct.
But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the selection
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on
and direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter, whatever
his own negligence and not on that of his servant. This is the notable peculiarity
done within the scope of his employment or not, if the damage done by the
of the Spanish law of negligence. It is, of course, in striking contrast to the
servant does not amount to a breach of the contract between the master and the
American doctrine that, in relations with strangers, the negligence of the servant
person injured.
in conclusively the negligence of the master.
It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care in the selection and
The opinion there expressed by this Court, to the effect that in case of extra-
control of the servant relieves the master from liability for the latter's acts — on
contractual culpa based upon negligence, it is necessary that there shall have
the contrary, that proof shows that the responsibility has never existed. As
been some fault attributable to the defendant personally, and that the last
Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is
paragraph of article 1903 merely establishes a rebuttable presumption, is in
always based upon a voluntary act or omission which, without willful intent, but
complete accord with the authoritative opinion of Manresa, who says (vol. 12, p.
by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another. A master who
611) that the liability created by article 1903 is imposed by reason of the breach
exercises all possible care in the selection of his servant, taking into
of the duties inherent in the special relations of authority or superiority existing
consideration the qualifications they should possess for the discharge of the
between the person called upon to repair the damage and the one who, by his act
duties which it is his purpose to confide to them, and directs them with equal
or omission, was the cause of it.
diligence, thereby performs his duty to third persons to whom he is bound by no
contractual ties, and he incurs no liability whatever if, by reason of the
negligence of his servants, even within the scope of their employment, such third On the other hand, the liability of masters and employers for the negligent acts
person suffer damage. True it is that under article 1903 of the Civil Code the law or omissions of their servants or agents, when such acts or omissions cause
creates a presumption that he has been negligent in the selection or direction of damages which amount to the breach of a contact, is not based upon a mere
his servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and yield to proof of due care and presumption of the master's negligence in their selection or control, and proof of
diligence in this respect. exercise of the utmost diligence and care in this regard does not relieve the
master of his liability for the breach of his contract.
The supreme court of Porto Rico, in interpreting identical provisions, as found in
the Porto Rico Code, has held that these articles are applicable to cases of extra- Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra-contractual or contractual.
contractual culpa exclusively. (Carmona vs. Cuesta, 20 Porto Rico Reports, 215.) Extra-contractual obligation has its source in the breach or omission of those
mutual duties which civilized society imposes upon it members, or which arise
from these relations, other than contractual, of certain members of society to
This distinction was again made patent by this Court in its decision in the case of
others, generally embraced in the concept of status. The legal rights of each
Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, (30 Phil. rep., 624), which was an action brought
member of society constitute the measure of the corresponding legal duties,
upon the theory of the extra-contractual liability of the defendant to respond for
mainly negative in character, which the existence of those rights imposes upon
Page 39 of 53
all other members of society. The breach of these general duties whether due to As it is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action for the breach of a contract to
willful intent or to mere inattention, if productive of injury, give rise to an show that the breach was due to the negligent conduct of defendant or of his
obligation to indemnify the injured party. The fundamental distinction between servants, even though such be in fact the actual cause of the breach, it is obvious
obligations of this character and those which arise from contract, rests upon the that proof on the part of defendant that the negligence or omission of his
fact that in cases of non-contractual obligation it is the wrongful or negligent act servants or agents caused the breach of the contract would not constitute a
or omission itself which creates the vinculum juris, whereas in contractual defense to the action. If the negligence of servants or agents could be invoked as
relations the vinculum exists independently of the breach of the voluntary duty a means of discharging the liability arising from contract, the anomalous result
assumed by the parties when entering into the contractual relation. would be that person acting through the medium of agents or servants in the
performance of their contracts, would be in a better position than those acting in
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence, whether of person. If one delivers a valuable watch to watchmaker who contract to repair it,
act or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect — and our Legislature and the bailee, by a personal negligent act causes its destruction, he is
has so elected — whom such an obligation is imposed is morally culpable, or, on unquestionably liable. Would it be logical to free him from his liability for the
the contrary, for reasons of public policy, to extend that liability, without regard breach of his contract, which involves the duty to exercise due care in the
to the lack of moral culpability, so as to include responsibility for the negligence preservation of the watch, if he shows that it was his servant whose negligence
of those person who acts or mission are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others caused the injury? If such a theory could be accepted, juridical persons would
who are in a position to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The enjoy practically complete immunity from damages arising from the breach of
legislature which adopted our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual their contracts if caused by negligent acts as such juridical persons can of
liability — with certain well-defined exceptions — to cases in which moral necessity only act through agents or servants, and it would no doubt be true in
culpability can be directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral most instances that reasonable care had been taken in selection and direction of
responsibility may consist in having failed to exercise due care in the selection such servants. If one delivers securities to a banking corporation as collateral,
and control of one's agents or servants, or in the control of persons who, by and they are lost by reason of the negligence of some clerk employed by the
reason of their status, occupy a position of dependency with respect to the bank, would it be just and reasonable to permit the bank to relieve itself of
person made liable for their conduct. liability for the breach of its contract to return the collateral upon the payment of
the debt by proving that due care had been exercised in the selection and
direction of the clerk?
The position of a natural or juridical person who has undertaken by contract to
render service to another, is wholly different from that to which article 1903
relates. When the sources of the obligation upon which plaintiff's cause of action This distinction between culpa aquiliana, as the source of an obligation,
depends is a negligent act or omission, the burden of proof rests upon plaintiff to and culpa contractual as a mere incident to the performance of a contract has
prove the negligence — if he does not his action fails. But when the facts frequently been recognized by the supreme court of Spain. (Sentencias of June
averred show a contractual undertaking by defendant for the benefit of plaintiff, 27, 1894; November 20, 1896; and December 13, 1896.) In the decisions of
and it is alleged that plaintiff has failed or refused to perform the contract, it is November 20, 1896, it appeared that plaintiff's action arose ex contractu, but that
not necessary for plaintiff to specify in his pleadings whether the breach of the defendant sought to avail himself of the provisions of article 1902 of the Civil
contract is due to willful fault or to negligence on the part of the defendant, or of Code as a defense. The Spanish Supreme Court rejected defendant's contention,
his servants or agents. Proof of the contract and of its nonperformance is saying:
sufficient prima facie to warrant a recovery.
These are not cases of injury caused, without any pre-existing obligation, by
As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of extra-contractual culpa, a suing fault or negligence, such as those to which article 1902 of the Civil Code relates,
creditor should assume the burden of proof of its existence, as the only fact upon but of damages caused by the defendant's failure to carry out the undertakings
which his action is based; while on the contrary, in a case of negligence which imposed by the contracts . . . .
presupposes the existence of a contractual obligation, if the creditor shows that it
exists and that it has been broken, it is not necessary for him to prove A brief review of the earlier decision of this court involving the liability of
negligence. (Manresa, vol. 8, p. 71 [1907 ed., p. 76]). employers for damage done by the negligent acts of their servants will show that
in no case has the court ever decided that the negligence of the defendant's

Page 40 of 53
servants has been held to constitute a defense to an action for damages for It is evident, therefore that in its decision Yamada case, the court treated
breach of contract. plaintiff's action as though founded in tort rather than as based upon the breach
of the contract of carriage, and an examination of the pleadings and of the briefs
In the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil. Rep., 663), the court held that the shows that the questions of law were in fact discussed upon this theory. Viewed
owner of a carriage was not liable for the damages caused by the negligence of from the standpoint of the defendant the practical result must have been the same
his driver. In that case the court commented on the fact that no evidence had in any event. The proof disclosed beyond doubt that the defendant's servant was
been adduced in the trial court that the defendant had been negligent in the grossly negligent and that his negligence was the proximate cause of plaintiff's
employment of the driver, or that he had any knowledge of his lack of skill or injury. It also affirmatively appeared that defendant had been guilty of
carefulness. negligence in its failure to exercise proper discretion in the direction of the
servant. Defendant was, therefore, liable for the injury suffered by plaintiff,
whether the breach of the duty were to be regarded as constituting culpa
In the case of Baer Senior & Co's Successors vs. Compania Maritima (6 Phil. aquiliana or culpa contractual. As Manresa points out (vol. 8, pp. 29 and 69)
Rep., 215), the plaintiff sued the defendant for damages caused by the loss of a whether negligence occurs an incident in the course of the performance of a
barge belonging to plaintiff which was allowed to get adrift by the negligence of contractual undertaking or its itself the source of an extra-contractual
defendant's servants in the course of the performance of a contract of towage. undertaking obligation, its essential characteristics are identical. There is always
The court held, citing Manresa (vol. 8, pp. 29, 69) that if the "obligation of the an act or omission productive of damage due to carelessness or inattention on the
defendant grew out of a contract made between it and the plaintiff . . . we do not part of the defendant. Consequently, when the court holds that a defendant is
think that the provisions of articles 1902 and 1903 are applicable to the case." liable in damages for having failed to exercise due care, either directly, or in
failing to exercise proper care in the selection and direction of his servants, the
In the case of Chapman vs. Underwood (27 Phil. Rep., 374), plaintiff sued the practical result is identical in either case. Therefore, it follows that it is not to be
defendant to recover damages for the personal injuries caused by the negligence inferred, because the court held in the Yamada case that defendant was liable for
of defendant's chauffeur while driving defendant's automobile in which the damages negligently caused by its servants to a person to whom it was bound
defendant was riding at the time. The court found that the damages were caused by contract, and made reference to the fact that the defendant was negligent in
by the negligence of the driver of the automobile, but held that the master was the selection and control of its servants, that in such a case the court would have
not liable, although he was present at the time, saying: held that it would have been a good defense to the action, if presented squarely
upon the theory of the breach of the contract, for defendant to have proved that it
. . . unless the negligent acts of the driver are continued for a length of time as to did in fact exercise care in the selection and control of the servant.
give the owner a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct the driver
to desist therefrom. . . . The act complained of must be continued in the presence The true explanation of such cases is to be found by directing the attention to the
of the owner for such length of time that the owner by his acquiescence, makes relative spheres of contractual and extra-contractual obligations. The field of
the driver's acts his own. non- contractual obligation is much more broader than that of contractual
obligations, comprising, as it does, the whole extent of juridical human relations.
In the case of Yamada vs. Manila Railroad Co. and Bachrach Garage & Taxicab These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact
Co. (33 Phil. Rep., 8), it is true that the court rested its conclusion as to the that a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extra-
liability of the defendant upon article 1903, although the facts disclosed that the contractual liability to such person. When such a contractual relation exists the
injury complaint of by plaintiff constituted a breach of the duty to him arising obligor may break the contract under such conditions that the same act which
out of the contract of transportation. The express ground of the decision in this constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract existed
case was that article 1903, in dealing with the liability of a master for the between the parties.
negligent acts of his servants "makes the distinction between private individuals
and public enterprise;" that as to the latter the law creates a rebuttable The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried with it, by implication, the
presumption of negligence in the selection or direction of servants; and that in duty to carry him in safety and to provide safe means of entering and leaving its
the particular case the presumption of negligence had not been overcome. trains (civil code, article 1258). That duty, being contractual, was direct and
immediate, and its non-performance could not be excused by proof that the fault
was morally imputable to defendant's servants.

Page 41 of 53
The railroad company's defense involves the assumption that even granting that to get off the train under the conditions then existing was dangerous? If so, the
the negligent conduct of its servants in placing an obstruction upon the platform plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his failure so to desist was
was a breach of its contractual obligation to maintain safe means of approaching contributory negligence.1awph!l.net
and leaving its trains, the direct and proximate cause of the injury suffered by
plaintiff was his own contributory negligence in failing to wait until the train had As the case now before us presents itself, the only fact from which a conclusion
come to a complete stop before alighting. Under the doctrine of comparative can be drawn to the effect that plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence is
negligence announced in the Rakes case (supra), if the accident was caused by that he stepped off the car without being able to discern clearly the condition of
plaintiff's own negligence, no liability is imposed upon defendant's negligence the platform and while the train was yet slowly moving. In considering the
and plaintiff's negligence merely contributed to his injury, the damages should be situation thus presented, it should not be overlooked that the plaintiff was, as we
apportioned. It is, therefore, important to ascertain if defendant was in fact guilty find, ignorant of the fact that the obstruction which was caused by the sacks of
of negligence. melons piled on the platform existed; and as the defendant was bound by reason
of its duty as a public carrier to afford to its passengers facilities for safe egress
It may be admitted that had plaintiff waited until the train had come to a full stop from its trains, the plaintiff had a right to assume, in the absence of some
before alighting, the particular injury suffered by him could not have occurred. circumstance to warn him to the contrary, that the platform was clear. The place,
Defendant contends, and cites many authorities in support of the contention, that as we have already stated, was dark, or dimly lighted, and this also is proof of a
it is negligence per se for a passenger to alight from a moving train. We are not failure upon the part of the defendant in the performance of a duty owing by it to
disposed to subscribe to this doctrine in its absolute form. We are of the opinion the plaintiff; for if it were by any possibility concede that it had right to pile
that this proposition is too badly stated and is at variance with the experience of these sacks in the path of alighting passengers, the placing of them adequately so
every-day life. In this particular instance, that the train was barely moving when that their presence would be revealed.
plaintiff alighted is shown conclusively by the fact that it came to stop within six
meters from the place where he stepped from it. Thousands of person alight from As pertinent to the question of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff
trains under these conditions every day of the year, and sustain no injury where in this case the following circumstances are to be noted: The company's platform
the company has kept its platform free from dangerous obstructions. There is no was constructed upon a level higher than that of the roadbed and the surrounding
reason to believe that plaintiff would have suffered any injury whatever in ground. The distance from the steps of the car to the spot where the alighting
alighting as he did had it not been for defendant's negligent failure to perform its passenger would place his feet on the platform was thus reduced, thereby
duty to provide a safe alighting place. decreasing the risk incident to stepping off. The nature of the platform,
constructed as it was of cement material, also assured to the passenger a stable
We are of the opinion that the correct doctrine relating to this subject is that and even surface on which to alight. Furthermore, the plaintiff was possessed of
expressed in Thompson's work on Negligence (vol. 3, sec. 3010) as follows: the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no means so risky for him
to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act would have been in an
The test by which to determine whether the passenger has been guilty of aged or feeble person. In determining the question of contributory negligence in
negligence in attempting to alight from a moving railway train, is that of performing such act — that is to say, whether the passenger acted prudently or
ordinary or reasonable care. It is to be considered whether an ordinarily prudent recklessly — the age, sex, and physical condition of the passenger are
person, of the age, sex and condition of the passenger, would have acted as the circumstances necessarily affecting the safety of the passenger, and should be
passenger acted under the circumstances disclosed by the evidence. This care has considered. Women, it has been observed, as a general rule are less capable than
been defined to be, not the care which may or should be used by the prudent man men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as the nature of their
generally, but the care which a man of ordinary prudence would use under wearing apparel obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again, it may be
similar circumstances, to avoid injury." (Thompson, Commentaries on noted that the place was perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as it was his daily
Negligence, vol. 3, sec. 3010.) custom to get on and of the train at this station. There could, therefore, be no
uncertainty in his mind with regard either to the length of the step which he was
required to take or the character of the platform where he was alighting. Our
Or, it we prefer to adopt the mode of exposition used by this court in conclusion is that the conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the
Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. rep., 809), we may say that the test is this; Was there train was yet slightly under way was not characterized by imprudence and that
anything in the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff at the time he alighted therefore he was not guilty of contributory negligence.
from the train which would have admonished a person of average prudence that
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The evidence shows that the plaintiff, at the time of the accident, was earning “by the marriage of the minor child”, it is, however, also clear that pursuant to
P25 a month as a copyist clerk, and that the injuries he has suffered have Article 399, emancipation by marriage of the minor is not really full or absolute.
permanently disabled him from continuing that employment. Defendant has not Thus “Emancipation by marriage or by voluntary concession shall terminate
shown that any other gainful occupation is open to plaintiff. His expectancy of parental authority over the child’s person. It shall enable the minor to administer
life, according to the standard mortality tables, is approximately thirty-three his property as though he were of age, but he cannot borrow money or alienate
years. We are of the opinion that a fair compensation for the damage suffered by or encumber real property without the consent of his father or mother, or
him for his permanent disability is the sum of P2,500, and that he is also entitled guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the assistance of his father,
to recover of defendant the additional sum of P790.25 for medical attention, mother or guardian.” Therefore, Article 2180 is applicable to Marvin Hill – the
hospital services, and other incidental expenditures connected with the treatment SC however ruled since at the time of the decision, Reginald is already of age,
of his injuries. Marvin’s liability should be subsidiary only – as a matter of equity.
The decision of lower court is reversed, and judgment is hereby rendered
plaintiff for the sum of P3,290.25, and for the costs of both instances. So INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (First Civil Cases Division) and

ELCANO vs HILL [G.R. No. 74761 November 6, 1990]

Reginald Hill, a minor, caused the death of Agapito (son of Elcano). Elcano filed
a criminal case against Reginald but Reginald was acquitted for “lack of intent -Petitioner spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo (Andamos for brevity) are
coupled with mistake.” Elcano then filed a civil action against Reginald and his the owners of a parcel of land situated in Biga (Biluso) Silang, Cavite which is
dad (Marvin Hill) for damages based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Hill adjacent to that of private respondent, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette,
argued that the civil action is barred by his son’s acquittal in the criminal case; Inc., (Missionaries for brevity) a religious corporation.
and that if ever, his civil liability as a parent has been extinguished by the fact
-Within the land of Missionaries, waterpaths and contrivances, including an
that his son is already an emancipated minor by reason of his marriage.
artificial lake, were constructed, which allegedly inundated and eroded
ISSUE: Whether or not Marvin Hill may be held civilly liable under Article Andamos' land, endangered the lives of Andamos and their laborers during rainy
2180. and stormy seasons, and exposed plants and other improvements to destruction.

HELD: Yes. The acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case does not bar the -Andamos then filed before the RTC of Cavite a criminal action against against
filing of a separate civil action. A separate civil action lies against the offender in Efren Musngi, Orlando Sapuay and Rutillo Mallillin, officers and directors of
a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or Missionaries, for destruction by means of inundation under Article 324 of the
acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if accused is actually Revised Penal Code.
charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be
-Another action was filed by Andamos against Missionaries, this time civil
entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the
action for damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
awards made in the two cases vary. In other words, the extinction of civil
injunction before the same court.
liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil
liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil -Missionaries filed its answer to the complaint and opposition to the issuance of
liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is a writ of preliminary injunction
not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act
charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly -Hearings were conducted including ocular inspections on the land.
stated, culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be
punishable by law. -RTC granted the motion to dismiss or suspend the civil action by Missionaries
issued an order suspending further hearings in the civil action until after
While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of the judgment in the related criminal action on the ground that Section 3 (a), Rule III
child (Article 327, Civil Code), and under Article 397, emancipation takes place of the Rules of Court which provides that"criminal and civil actions arising from

Page 43 of 53
the same offense may be instituted separately, but after the criminal action has GASHEM SHOOKAT BAKSH, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS
been commenced the civil action cannot be instituted until final judgment has and MARILOU T. GONZALES, respondents.
been rendered in the criminal action."
G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993
-On appeal, IAC affirmed the decision of RTC
FACTS: Private respondent Gonzales filed with the trial court a complaint for
-IAC also denied MR filed by Andamos damages against the petitioner for the alleged violation of their agreement to get
Petitioner alleged in said complaint that she is lass of good moral character and
Whether a corporation, which has built through its agents, waterpaths, water reputation duly respected in her community and that she was a virgin before she
conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby causing inundation and began living with him as she never had a boyfriend before; petitioner Baksh, on
damage to an adjacent land, can be held civilly liable for damages under Articles the other hand, is an Iranian citizen, and is an exchange student taking a medical
2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts such that the resulting civil course at the Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in Dagupan City.
case can proceed independently of the criminal case.
Respondent courted and proposed to marry her; she accepted his love on the
HELD: condition that they would get married; they therefore agreed to get married after
the end of the school semester, which was in October of that year.
YES. All the elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit: (a) damages suffered
by the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or some other person for Petitioner then visited the private respondent's parents in Bañaga, Bugallon,
whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect between Pangasinan to secure their approval to the marriage. Plaintiff's parents agreed to
the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the his proposal for him to marry their daughter, and they likewise allowed him to
plaintiff. stay in their house and sleep with plaintiff during the few days that they were in
Bugallon. By reason of that deceitful promise, private respondent and her
Clearly, from petitioner's complaint, the waterpaths and contrivances built by
parents — in accordance with Filipino customs and traditions — made some
respondent corporation are alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners.
preparations for the wedding that was to be held at the end of October 1987 by
There is therefore, an assertion of a causal connection between the act of
looking for pigs and chickens, inviting friends and relatives and contracting
building these waterpaths and the damage sustained by petitioners.
Indeed, the recitals of the complaint, the alleged presence of damage to the
Thereafter, the parties started to live together in defendant’s apartment. As a
petitioners, the act or omission of respondent corporation supposedly
result of this live-in relationship, plaintiff became pregnant, but defendant gave
constituting fault or negligence, and the causal connection between the act and
her some medicine to abort the fetus. Petitioner's attitude towards her started to
the damage, with no pre-existing contractual obligation between the parties
change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a result of such maltreatment,
make a clear case of a quasi delict or culpa aquiliana.
she sustained injuries.
It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not without limitations.
During a confrontation with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a
Article 431 of the Civil Code provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make
day before the filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage
use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a third person." SIC
agreement and asked her not to live with him anymore and; the petitioner is
UTERE TUO UT ALIENUM NON LAEDAS. Moreover, adjoining landowners
already married to someone living in Bacolod City.
have mutual and reciprocal duties which require that each must use his own land
in a reasonable manner so as not to infringe upon the rights and interests of Private respondent then prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her
others. Although we recognize the right of an owner to build structures on his damages.
land, such structures must be so constructed and maintained using all reasonable
care so that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners and can withstand Respondent’s father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after petitioner-defendant
the usual and expected forces of nature. If the structures cause injury or damage had informed them of his desire to marry Marilou, he already looked for
to an adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter can claim indemnification sponsors for the wedding, started preparing for the reception by looking for pigs
for the injury or damage suffered. and chickens, and even already invited many relatives and friends to the
forthcoming wedding.
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RTC of Pangasinan: respondent’s fraud and deceit and wilful injury to respondent’s honor and
The RTC, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code, ruled in favor of the private
respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter damages and The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable
attorney's fees. wrong.
Court of Appeals: However, the Civil Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to
expand the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting
Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of Appeals. adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is
Respondent Court promulgated the challenged decision affirming in toto the trial impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the
court's ruling in favor of respondent Gonzales, holding that it was defendant- statute books.
appellant's fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to
marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to The Code Commission states that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which
live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise, leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually
and it was likewise this fraud and deception on appellant's part that made suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it necessary, in
plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following
supposed marriage. And as these acts of appellant are palpably and undoubtedly rule:
against morals, good customs, and public policy, and are even gravely and
deeply derogatory and insulting to our women, coming as they do from a Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
foreigner who has been enjoying the hospitality of our people and taking that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
advantage of the opportunity to study in one of our institutions of learning, latter for the damage.
defendant-appellant should indeed be made, under Art. 21 of the Civil Code of Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:
the Philippines, to compensate for the moral damages and injury that he had
caused plaintiff, as the lower court ordered him to do in its decision in this case. “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
Hence, this petition for certiorari under Rule 45. there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-
Petitioner argues that Article 21 is not applicable because he had not committed delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.”
any moral wrong or injury or violated any good custom or public policy; he has is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or
not professed love or proposed marriage to the private respondent; and he has intent.
never maltreated her. He criticizes the trial court for liberally invoking Filipino
customs, traditions and culture, and ignoring the fact that since he is a foreigner, Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law
he is not conversant with such Filipino customs, traditions and culture. Petitioner concept, while torts is an Anglo-American or common law concept.
asseverates that even if it was to be assumed arguendo that he had professed his
love to the private respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts Torts is much broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only
would not be actionable in view of the special circumstances of the case. The negligence, but international criminal acts as well such as assault and battery,
mere breach of promise is not actionable. false imprisonment and deceit. In the general scheme of the Philippine legal
system envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil
Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed
by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered
ISSUE: W/N damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. In between these opposite spectrums are
basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond
redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated that together
with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the
HELD: The court held that breach of promise to marry is not an actionable scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable
wrong; however, damages may be recovered based on Article 21 due to than the Anglo-American law on torts.

Page 45 of 53
In the line with the purpose of Article 21, we are of the opinion, and so hold, that CFI dismissed the Petition for certiorari on the following grounds:
where a man's promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of the acceptance
of his love by a woman and his representation to fulfill that promise thereafter a.) that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the City Court in
becomes the proximate cause of the giving of herself unto him in a sexual suspending the civil action inasmuch as damage to property is not one of the
congress, proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the instances when an independent civil action is proper
promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to b.) that petitioner has another plain, speedy, and adequate remedy under the law,
accept him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act, could justify the award of which is to submit his claim for damages in the criminal case
damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but
because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the wilful injury to her honor and c.) that the resolution of the City Court is interlocutory and, therefore, certiorari
reputation which followed thereafter. is improper; d.) that the Petition is defective inasmuch as what petitioner actually
desires is a Writ of mandamus.
It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a
manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy. Cinco filed a Petition for Review in SC.
In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's "fraudulent
and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made
her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to live with him on the ISSUE: Whether or not there can be an independent civil action for damage to
honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise property during the pendency of the criminal action.
these fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents agree
to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their supposed marriage."
In short, the private respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished HELD: The City Court erred in reliance on section 3 (b) of Rule 111 of the
possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral Rules of Court. The civil action referred to in Secs. 3(a) and 3(b) of Rule 111 is
seduction — the kind illustrated by the Code Commission. that arising from the criminal offense and not the civil action based on quasi-
Instant petition is denied, with costs against petitioner
Art. 31 is more appropriate in this case.
Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act
FACTS: Cinco filed a Complaint in the City Court of Mandaue City for the or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed
recovery of damages on account of a vehicular accident because of the fault or independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the
negligence of Hilot involving his automobile and Hilot's jeepney. After such, a latter.
criminal case was filed against the driver arising from the same accident. At the
pre-trial in the civil case, counsel for private respondents moved to suspend the It bears emphasizing that petitioner's cause of action is based on quasi-delict.
civil action pending the final determination of the criminal suit, invoking Rule Respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in upholding the Decision of the
111, Section 3 (b) of the Rules of Court, which provides: City Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, suspending the civil action based on a quasi-
delict until after the criminal case is finally terminated.
(b) After a criminal action has been commenced. no civil action arising from the
same offense can be prosecuted, and the same shall be suspended, in whatever The Decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu is hereby set aside.
stage it may be found, until final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been City Court of Mandaue City is hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing of
rendered; Civil Case No. 189
Judge Canonoy of City Court of Mandaue City ordered the suspension of the
civil case. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration thereof was denied and he
elevated the matter on certiorari to the Court of First Instance of Cebu with the LG Foods v. Agraviador (2006
allegation that the City Judge had acted with grave abuse of discretion in
suspending the civil action for being contrary to law and jurisprudence.

Page 46 of 53
The Case Review on certiorari of a decision of the CA on 25 April 2003 Second. While not explicitly stated that the suit was for damages based on quasi-
affirming an order of Bacolod RTC, which in turn denied the petitioners’ motion delict, it alleged gross fault and negligence on the part of the driver and the
to dismiss an action for damages arising from a vehicular accident instituted by failure of LG Foods, as employers, to exercise due diligence in the selection and
the Vallejera spouses. supervision of their employees. It was further alleged that LG Foods is civilly
liable for the negligence/imprudence of their driver since they failed to exercise
The Facts On February 26, 1996, Charles Vallereja, a 7-year old son of the the necessary diligence required of a good father of the family in the selection
Vallejera spouses, was hit by a Ford Fiera van owned by LG Foods Corporation and supervision of their employees, which diligence, if exercised, could have
(LG Foods) and driven by their employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer. prevented the vehicular accident that resulted to the death of their 7-year old son.
Charles died as a result of the accident. An information for reckless imprudence Third. Section 2, Rule 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure defines cause of
resulting to homicide was filed against the driver before the Bacolod MTCC. action as the "act or omission by which a party violates the right of another."
Before the trial could be concluded, however, the accused driver committed Such act or omission gives rise to an obligation which may come from law,
suicide. The case was then dismissed. On June 23, 1999, the spouses Vallejera contracts, quasi contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts. Corollarily, an act or omission
filed a complaint for damages against LG Foods alleging that as employers, they causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the
failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of their part of the offender, i.e., 1) civil liability ex delicto, and 2) independent civil
employees. In their defense, LG Foods denied liability by claiming to have liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as
exercised such diligence and prayed for dismissal for lack of cause of action. felony (e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law; the intentional
Also in their motion to dismiss, they argued that the complaint was a claim for torts;14 and culpa aquiliana15); or (b) where the injured party is granted a right
subsidiary liability against an employer under A1035, RPC and, as such, there to file an action independent and distinct from the criminal action. Either of
must first be a judgment of conviction against their driver to hold them liable. these two possible liabilities may be enforced against the offender. Stated
Since such condition was not fulfilled due to the latter’s death, they argued, the otherwise, victims of negligence or their heirs have a choice between an action
spouses had no cause of action. The trial court denied the motion for lack of to enforce the civil liability arising from culpa criminal under Article 100 of the
merit. Also, it denied the motion for reconsideration of the matter. LG Foods Revised Penal Code, and an action for quasi-delict (culpa aquiliana) under
then went on certiorari to the CA alleging grave abuse of discretion of the part of Articles 2176 to 2194 of the Civil Code. This is illustrated in A1161, CC
the trial judge. providing that civil obligation arising from criminal offenses shall be governed
The CA, however, affirmed the RTC decision ruling that the complaint by the by penal laws subject to the provision of A2177 and of the pertinent provision of
spouses does not purport to be based on subsidiary liability since the basic Chapter 2, Preliminary Title on Human Relation, and of Title XVIII of this
elements of such liability, such as conviction and insolvency of the accused Book, regulating damages. This means that A2177 provides an alternative
employee, were not even alleged in said complaint. It then said that the remedy for the plaintiff. The choice is with the plaintiff. Fourth. Under Article
complaint purports to exact responsibility for fault or negligence under A2176, 2180 of the Civil Code, the liability of the employer is direct or immediate, not
CC, which is entirely separate and distinct from civil liability arising from conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior
negligence under the A103, RPC. Liability under A2180, CC is direct and showing of insolvency. This was the recourse of the spouses since there was no
immediate, and not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent conviction in the criminal case against the driver. Fifth. LG Foods has been
employee or showing of insolvency. alleging that "they had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision
of [their] employees." This defense is an admission that indeed the petitioners
The Issue Whether the cause of action of the Vallejera spouses is founded on CC acknowledged the private respondents' cause of action as one for quasi-delict
or RPC. under A2180, CC. Sixth. Since it is as if there was no criminal case to speak of
The Ruling The case is a negligence suit brought under A2176, CC to recover due to its premature termination, the fact that there was no prior reservation
damages primarily from LG Foods as employers responsible for their negligent made to institute a separate civil action is of no moment.
driver pursuant to A2180, CC. The obligation imposed by A2176 is demandable
not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION vs. G.P.S TRUCKING CORPORATION
one is responsible. Thus, the employer is liable for damages caused by his and LAMBERT M. EROLES
employees. The Ratio First. Nothing in the allegations in the complaint suggests G.R.No. 141910 06August2002
that the LG Foods are being made to account for their subsidiary liability under
Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. Plus, the complaint did not even aver the FACTS OF THE CASE:
basic elements for the subsidiary liability of an employer under said provision.

Page 47 of 53
G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deliver on 18 June The decision of the lower courts insofar as Lambert M. Eroles is concerned is
1994 thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white refrigerators aboard one of its Isuzu affirmed but assailed decision with regard to GPS trucking is reversed. It, is
truck, driven by Lambert Eroles. While the truck was traversing the north hereby ordered to pay FGU Insurance Corporation the value of the damaged and
diversion road along McArthur highway in Barangay Anupol, Bamban, Tarlac, it lost cargoes in the amount of P204, 450.00
collided with an unidentified truck, causing it to fall into a deep canal, resulting
in damage to the cargoes. Fores v. Miranda
FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, paid to
Concepcion Industries, Inc., the value of the covered cargoes: P204, 450.00. Facts:
FGU, in turn, being the subrogee of the rights and interests of the insured sought Respondent was one of the passengers of a jeepney driven by Eugenio Luga.
reimbursement of the amount, from GPS. Since GPS failed to heed the claim, While the vehicle was descending the Sta. Mesa bridge at an excessive speed,
FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach of contract of carriage against the driver lost control, and the jeepney swerved to the bridge wall. Serious
GPS and its driver with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City. In injuries were suffered by the defendant. The driver was charged with serious
its answer, respondents asserted that GPS was the exclusive hauler only of physical injuries through reckless imprudence, and upon interposing a plea of
Concepcion Industries, Inc., since 1988, and it was not so engaged in business as guilty was sentenced accordingly. Petitioner denies liability for breach of
a common carrier. Respondents further claimed that the cause of damage was contract of carriage, contending that a day before the accident, the jeepney was
purely accidental. GPS, instead of submitting its evidence, filed with leave of sold to a certain Carmen Sackerman.
court a motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to evidence on the Issues:
ground that petitioner had failed to prove that it was a common carrier. The RTC (1) Is the approval of the Public Service Commission necessary for the sale of a
and CA both ruled in favor of the Respondent. public service vehicle even without conveying therewith the authority to operate
the same?
ISSUES OF THE CASE: (2) To what damages is the respondent entitled?
WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS, EITHER AS A COMMON CARRIER OR A (1) Assuming the dubious sale to be a fact, the court of Appeals answered the
PRIVATE CARRIER, MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN NEGLIGENT query in the affirmative. The ruling should be upheld. The provisions of the
WHEN THE GOODS IT UNDERTOOK TO TRANSPORT SAFELY WERE statute are clear and prohibit the sale, alienation, lease, or encumbrance of the
SUBSEQUENTLY DAMAGED WHILE IN ITS PROTECTIVE CUSTODY property, franchise, certificate, privileges or rights, or any part thereof of the
AND POSSESSION. owner or operator of the public service Commission. The law was designed
primarily for the protection of the public interest; and until the approval of the
- In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as being the public Service Commission is obtained the vehicle is, in contemplation of law,
subrogee of Concepcion Industries, Inc., the mere proof of the existence of the still under the service of the owner or operator standing in the records of the
contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding Commission which the public has a right to rely upon.
right of relief. Thus, FGU has a claim for the amount paid out. (2) The P10,000 actual damages awarded by the Court of First Instance of
- The law, recognizing the obligatory force of contracts, will not permit a party Manila were reduced by the Court of Appeals to only P2,000, on the ground that
to be set free from liability for any kind of misperformance of the contractual a review of the records failed to disclose a sufficient basis for the trial court's
undertaking or a contravention of the tenor thereof appraisal, since the only evidence presented on this point consisted of
- GPS recognizes the existence of a contract of carriage between it and respondent's bare statement that his expenses and loss of income amounted to
petitioner’s assured, and admits that the cargoes it has assumed to deliver have P20,000. On the other hand, "it cannot be denied," the lower court said, "that
been lost or damaged while in its custody. In such a situation, a default on, or appellee (respondent) did incur expenses"' It is well to note further that
failure of compliance with, the obligation in this case, the delivery of the goods respondent was a painter by profession and a professor of Fine Arts, so that the
in its custody to the place of destination - gives rise to a presumption of lack of amount of P2,000 awarded cannot be said to be excessive. The attorney's fees in
care and corresponding liability on the part of the contractual obligor the burden the sum of P3,000 also awarded to the respondent are assailed on the ground that
being on him to establish otherwise. GPS has failed to do so. the Court of First Instance did not provided for the same, and since no appeal
was interposed by said respondent, it was allegedly error for the Court of
HELD: Appeals to award them motu proprio. Petitioner fails to note that attorney's fees
are included in the concept of actual damages under the Civil Code and may be

Page 48 of 53
awarded whenever the court deems it is just and equitable. We see no reason to Macaraya immediately prepared a deposit slip in duplicate copies with a check
alter these awards. of P200,000. Macaraya and Calapre went to Solidbank and presented to Teller
Anent the moral damages ordered to be paid to the respondent, the same must be No. 6 the deposit slip and check. The teller stamped the words “DUPLICATE”
discarded. We have repeatedly ruled that moral damages are not recoverable in and “SAVING TELLER 6 SOLIDBANK HEAD OFFICE” on the duplicate
damage actions predicted on a breach of the contract of transportation. Where copy of the deposit slip. When Macaraya asked for the passbook, Teller No. 6
the injured passenger does not die, moral damages are not recoverable unless it told Macaraya that someone got the passbook but she could not remember to
is proved that the carrier was guilty of malice or bad faith. We think it is clear whom she gave the passbook. When Macaraya asked Teller No. 6 if Calapre got
that the mere carelessness of the carrier's driver does not per se constitute of the passbook, Teller No. 6 answered that someone shorter than Calapre got the
justify an inference of malice or bad faith on the part of the carrier; and in the passbook. Calapre was then standing beside Macaraya.
case at bar there is no other evidence of such malice to support the award of
moral damages by the Court of Appeals.
The following day L.C. Diaz learned of the unauthorized withdrawal the day
THE CONSOLIDATED BANK and TRUST CORPORATION vs. COURT before (14 August 1991) of P300,000 from its

 savings account. The withdrawal slip for the P300,000 bore the signatures of the
G.R. No. 138569, Sep 11, 2003. authorized signatories of L.C. Diaz, namely Diaz and Rustico L. Murillo. The
signatories, however, denied signing the withdrawal slip. A certain Noel Tamayo
received the P300,000.

Petitioner Solidbank is a domestic banking corporation organized and existing
under Philippine laws. Private respondent L.C. Diaz and Company, CPA’s, is a L.C. Diaz demanded from Solidbank the return of its money. Solidbank refused.
professional partnership engaged in the practice of accounting. L.C. Diaz filed a Complaint for Recovery of a Sum of Money against Solidbank.
The trial court absolved Solidbank. L.C. Diaz appealed to the CA. CA reversed
the ecision of the trial court. CA denied the motion for reconsideration of
In March 1976, L.C. Diaz opened a savings account with Solidbank. On 14 Solidbank. But it modified its decision by deleting the award of exemplary
August 1991, L.C. Diaz through its cashier, Mercedes Macaraya, filled up a damages and attorney’s fees. Hence this petition.
savings (cash) deposit slip for P990 and a savings (checks) deposit slip for P50.
Macaraya instructed the messenger of L.C. Diaz, Ismael Calapre, to deposit the
money with Solidbank. Macaraya also gave Calapre the Solidbank passbook. ISSUE:

WON petitioner Solidbank is liable.

Calapre went to Solidbank and presented to Teller No. 6 the two deposit slips
and the passbook. The teller acknowledged the receipt of the deposit by RULING:

returning to Calapre the duplicate copies of the two deposit slips. Teller No. 6 Yes. Solidbank is liable for breach of contract due to negligence, or culpa
stamped the deposit slips with the words “DUPLICATE” and “SAVING contractual.
TELLER 6 SOLIDBANK HEAD OFFICE.” Since the transaction took time and
Calapre had to make another deposit for L.C. Diaz with Allied Bank, he left the
passbook with Solidbank. Calapre then went to Allied Bank. When Calapre
returned to Solidbank to retrieve the passbook, Teller No. 6 informed him that The contract between the bank and its depositor is governed by the provisions of
“somebody got the passbook.” Calapre went back to L.C. Diaz and reported the the Civil Code on simple loan. Article 1980 of the Civil Code expressly provides
incident to Macaraya. that “x x x savings x x x deposits of money in banks and similar institutions shall
be governed by the provisions concerning simple loan.” There is a debtor-
creditor relationship between the bank and its depositor. The bank is the debtor
and the depositor is the creditor. The depositor lends the bank money and the
bank agrees to pay the depositor on demand. The savings deposit agreement
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between the bank and the depositor is the contract that determines the rights and Calapre left the passbook with Solidbank because the “transaction took time”
obligations of the parties. and he had to go to Allied Bank for another transaction. The passbook was still
in the hands of the employees of Solidbank for the processing of the deposit
when Calapre left Solidbank. When the passbook is in the possession of
Solidbank’s tellers during withdrawals, the law imposes on Solidbank and its
The law imposes on banks high standards in view of the fiduciary nature of
tellers an even higher degree of diligence in safeguarding the passbook.
banking. The bank is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with
meticulous care, always having in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship.

Solidbank’s tellers must exercise a high degree of diligence in insuring that they
return the passbook only to the depositor or his authorized representative. For
This fiduciary relationship means that the bank’s obligation to observe “high
failing to return the passbook to Calapre, the authorized representative of L.C.
standards of integrity and performance” is deemed written into every deposit
Diaz, Solidbank and Teller No. 6 presumptively failed to observe such high
agreement between a bank and its depositor. The fiduciary nature of banking
degree of diligence in safeguarding the passbook, and in insuring its return to the
requires banks to assume a degree of diligence higher than that of a good father
party authorized to receive the same.
of a family. Article 1172 of the Civil Code states that the degree of diligence
required of an obligor is that prescribed by law or contract, and absent such
stipulation then the diligence of a good father of a family. Section 2 of RA 8791
prescribes the statutory diligence required from banks – that banks must observe In culpa contractual, once the plaintiff proves a breach of contract, there is a
“high standards of integrity and performance” in servicing their depositors. presumption that the defendant was at fault or negligent. The burden is on the
defendant to prove that he was not at fault or negligent. In contrast, in culpa
aquiliana the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant was
negligent. In the present case, L.C. Diaz has established that Solidbank breached
However, the fiduciary nature of a bank-depositor relationship does not convert
its contractual obligation to return the passbook only to the authorized
the contract between the bank and its depositors from a simple loan to a trust
representative of L.C. Diaz. There is thus a presumption that Solidbank was at
agreement, whether express or implied. Failure by the bank to pay the depositor
fault and its teller was negligent in not returning the passbook to Calapre. The
is failure to pay a simple loan, and not a breach of trust. The law simply imposes
burden was on Solidbank to prove that there was no negligence on its part or its
on the bank a higher standard of integrity and performance in complying with its
employees. But Solidbank failed to discharge its burden. Solidbank did not
obligations under the contract of simple loan, beyond those required of non-bank
present to the trial court Teller No. 6, the teller with whom Calapre left the
debtors under a similar contract of simple loan.
passbook and who was supposed to return the passbook to him. Solidbank also
failed to adduce in evidence its standard procedure in verifying the identity of
the person retrieving the passbook, if there is such a procedure, and that Teller
The fiduciary nature of banking does not convert a simple loan into a trust No. 6 implemented this procedure in the present case.
agreement because banks do not accept deposits to enrich depositors but to earn
money for themselves.
Solidbank is bound by the negligence of its employees under the principle of
respondeat superior or command responsibility. The defense of exercising the
Solidbank’s Breach of its Contractual Obligation
 required diligence in the selection and supervision of employees is not a
Article 1172 of the Civil Code provides that “responsibility arising from complete defense in culpa contractual, unlike in culpa aquiliana. The bank must
negligence in the performance of every kind of obligation is demandable.” For not only exercise “high standards of integrity and performance,” it must also
breach of the savings deposit agreement due to negligence, or culpa contractual, insure that its employees do likewise because this is the only way to insure that
the bank is liable to its depositor. the bank will comply with its fiduciary duty

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Proximate Cause of the Unauthorized Withdrawal
 exercised the proper diligence in the selection and supervision of its employee,
Proximate cause is that cause which, in natural and continuous sequence, or if the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence, then the courts may
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury and without reduce the award of damages. In this case, L.C. Diaz was guilty of contributory
which the result would not have occurred. Proximate cause is determined by the negligence in allowing a withdrawal slip signed by its authorized signatories to
facts of each case upon mixed considerations of logic, common sense, policy fall into the hands of an impostor. Thus, the liability of Solidbank should be
and precedent. reduced.

L.C. Diaz was not at fault that the passbook landed in the hands of the impostor. In PBC v. CA where the Court held the depositor guilty of contributory
Solidbank was in possession of the passbook while it was processing the deposit. negligence, we allocated the damages between the depositor and the bank on a
After completion of the transaction, Solidbank had the contractual obligation to 40-60 ratio. Applying the same ruling to this case, we hold that L.C. Diaz must
return the passbook only to Calapre, the authorized representative of L.C. Diaz. shoulder 40% of the actual damages awarded by the appellate court. Solidbank
Solidbank failed to fulfill its contractual obligation because it gave the passbook must pay the other 60% of the actual damages.
to another person.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with

Had the passbook not fallen into the hands of the impostor, the loss of P300,000 MODIFICATION.
would not have happened. Thus, the proximate cause of the unauthorized
withdrawal was Solidbank’s negligence in not returning the passbook to Calapre.

Doctrine of Last Clear Chance

The doctrine of last clear chance states that where both parties are negligent but In March 1958, Rafael Carrascoso and several other Filipinos were tourists en
the negligent act of one is appreciably later than that of the other, or where it is route to Rome from Manila. Carrascoso was issued a first class round trip ticket
impossible to determine whose fault or negligence caused the loss, the one who by Air France. But during a stop-over in Bangkok, he was asked by the plane
had the last clear opportunity to avoid the loss but failed to do so, is chargeable manager of Air France to vacate his seat because a white man allegedly has a
with the loss. The antecedent negligence of the plaintiff does not preclude him “better right” than him. Carrascoso protested but when things got heated and
from recovering damages caused by the supervening negligence of the upon advise of other Filipinos on board, Carrascoso gave up his seat and was
defendant, who had the last fair chance to prevent the impending harm by the transferred to the plane’s tourist class.
exercise of due diligence.
After their tourist trip when Carrascoso was already in the Philippines, he sued
Air France for damages for the embarrassment he suffered during his trip. In
We do not apply the doctrine of last clear chance to the present case. This is a court, Carrascoso testified, among others, that he when he was forced to take the
case of culpa contractual, where neither the contributory negligence of the tourist class, he went to the plane’s pantry where he was approached by a plane
plaintiff nor his last clear chance to avoid the loss, would exonerate the purser who told him that he noted in the plane’s journal the following:
defendant from liability. Such contributory negligence or last clear chance by the First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his will, and
plaintiff merely serves to reduce the recovery of damages by the plaintiff but that the captain refused to intervene
does not exculpate the defendant from his breach of contract
The said testimony was admitted in favor of Carrascoso. The trial court
eventually awarded damages in favor of Carrascoso. This was affirmed by the
Mitigated Damages
 Court of Appeals.
Under Article 1172, “liability (for culpa contractual) may be regulated by the
courts, according to the circumstances.” This means that if the defendant
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Air France is assailing the decision of the trial court and the CA. It avers that the on the entry does not come within the proscription of the best evidence rule.
issuance of a first class ticket to Carrascoso was not an assurance that he will be Such testimony is admissible. Besides, when the dialogue between Carrascoso
seated in first class because allegedly in truth and in fact, that was not the true and the purser happened, the impact of the startling occurrence was still fresh
intent between the parties. and continued to be felt. The excitement had not as yet died down. Statements
then, in this environment, are admissible as part of the res gestae. The utterance
Air France also questioned the admissibility of Carrascoso’s testimony regarding of the purser regarding his entry in the notebook was spontaneous, and related to
the note made by the purser because the said note was never presented in court. the circumstances of the ouster incident. Its trustworthiness has been guaranteed.
It thus escapes the operation of the hearsay rule. It forms part of the res gestae.
ISSUE 1: Whether or not Air France is liable for damages and on what basis.
Far East Bank and Trust Company, petitioner
ISSUE 2: Whether or not the testimony of Carrasoso regarding the note which
vs Court of Appeals, Luisa Luna and Clarita Luna, respondents
was not presented in court is admissible in evidence.
Ponente: Vitug
HELD 1: Yes. It appears that Air France’s liability is based on culpa-contractual
and on culpa aquiliana. Facts:
Luis Luna applied for a far east card issued by far east bank at its Pasig branch.
Culpa Contractual Upon his request, the bank also issued a supplemental card to private respondent
Clarita Luna. Then Clarita lost her credit card and submitted an affidavit of loss.
There exists a contract of carriage between Air France and Carrascoso. There Later on October 6, 1988 in a restaurant, Luis' credit card was not honored.
was a contract to furnish Carrasocoso a first class passage; Second, That said
contract was breached when Air France failed to furnish first class transportation Luis thru a counsel then demanded from far east to pay damages for the
at Bangkok; and Third, that there was bad faith when Air France’s employee humiliation he felt. The vice-president of the bank expressed bank's apologies to
compelled Carrascoso to leave his first class accommodation berth “after he was Luis.
already, seated” and to take a seat in the tourist class, by reason of which he
suffered inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing him Still evidently feeling aggrieved, private respondents, on 05 December 1988,
mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation, filed a complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Pasig
resulting in moral damages. against FEBTC.
The Supreme Court did not give credence to Air France’s claim that the issuance On 30 March 1990, the RTC of Pasig, given the foregoing factual settings,
of a first class ticket to a passenger is not an assurance that he will be given a rendered a decision ordering FEBTC to pay private respondents (a) P300,000.00
first class seat. Such claim is simply incredible. moral damages; (b) P50,000.00 exemplary damages; and (c) P20,000.00
attorney's fees.
Culpa Aquiliana On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the appellate court affirmed the decision of
the trial court.
Here, the SC ruled, even though there is a contract of carriage between Air Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court, FEBTC
France and Carrascoso, there is also a tortuous act based on culpa aquiliana. has come to this Court with this petition for review.
Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. They have a right to be
treated by the carrier’s employees with kindness, respect, courtesy and due There is merit in this appeal.
consideration. They are entitled to be protected against personal misconduct, In culpa contractual, moral damages may be recovered where the defendant is
injurious language, indignities and abuses from such employees. So it is, that shown to have acted in bad faith or with malice in the breach of the contract. The
any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a passenger Civil Code provides:
gives the latter an action for damages against the carrier. Air France’s contract Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral
with Carrascoso is one attended with public duty. The stress of Carrascoso’s damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are
action is placed upon his wrongful expulsion. This is a violation of public duty justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant
by the Air France — a case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper. acted fraudulently or in bad faith.
HELD: 2: Yes. The testimony of Carrascoso must be admitted based on res
gestae. The subject of inquiry is not the entry, but the ouster incident. Testimony
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Bad faith, in this context, includes gross, but not simple, negligence.
Exceptionally, in a contract of carriage, moral damages are also allowed in case
of death of a passenger attributable to the fault (which is presumed) of the
common carrier.

The Court has not in the process overlooked another rule that a quasi-delict can
be the cause for breaching a contract that might thereby permit the application of
applicable principles on tort 9 even where there is a pre-existing contract
between the plaintiff and the defendant. This doctrine, unfortunately, cannot
improve private respondents' case for it can aptly govern only where the act or
omission complained of would constitute an actionable tort independently of the
contract. The test (whether a quasi-delict can be deemed to underlie the breach
of a contract) can be stated thusly: Where, without a pre-existing contract
between two parties, an act or omission can nonetheless amount to an actionable
tort by itself, the fact that the parties are contractually bound is no bar to the
application of quasi-delict provisions to the case. Here, private respondents'
damage claim is predicated solely on their contractual relationship; without such
agreement, the act or omission complained of cannot by itself be held to stand as
a separate cause of action or as an independent actionable tort.

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