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SPS. BUENAVENTURA JAYME G.R. No. 163609 AND ROSARIO 5. Fifty Thousand (P50,000.

Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos for the death of Marvin Jayme;


JAYME, Petitioners, - versus - RODRIGO APOSTOL, 6. Three Thousand (P3,000.00) as litigation expenses; and
MAY a municipal mayor be held solidarily liable for the negligent acts 7. To pay the cost of this suit.
of the driver assigned to him, which resulted in the death of a minor SO ORDERED.[12]
pedestrian? Dissatisfied with the RTC ruling, Mayor Miguel interposed an appeal to
Challenged in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision[1] of the CA.
the Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed and set aside the decision CA Disposition
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Polomolok, Cotabato City, Branch In his appeal, Mayor Miguel contended that the RTC erred in ruling that
39, insofar as defendant Mayor Fernando Q. Miguel is concerned. The he was Lozanos employer and, hence, solidarily liable for the latters
CA absolved Mayor Miguel from any liability since it was not he, but negligent act. Records showed that the Municipality of Koronadal was
the Municipality of Koronadal, that was the employer of the negligent the drivers true and lawful employer. Mayor Miguel also denied that he
driver. did not exercise due care and diligence in the supervision of Lozano.
The Facts: On February 5, 1989, Mayor Miguel of Koronadal, South The incident, although unfortunate, was unexpected and cannot be
Cotabato was on board the Isuzu pick-up truck driven by Fidel Lozano, attributed to him.
an employee of the Municipality of Koronadal.[2] The pick-up truck was On October 22, 2003, the CA granted the appeal, disposing as follows:
registered under the name of Rodrigo Apostol, but it was then in the WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET
possession of Ernesto Simbulan.[3] Lozano borrowed the pick-up truck ASIDE, insofar as defendant-appellant Mayor Fernando Q. Miguel is
from Simbulan to bring Miguel to Buayan Airport at General Santos City concerned, and the complaint against him is DISMISSED.
to catch his Manila flight.[4] IT IS SO ORDERED.[13]
The pick-up truck accidentally hit Marvin C. Jayme, a minor, who was The CA held that Mayor Miguel should not be held liable for damages
then crossing the National Highway in Poblacion, Polomolok, South for the death of Marvin Jayme. Said the appellate court:
Cotabato.[5] The intensity of the collision sent Marvin some fifty (50) Moreover, plaintiffs-appellees admitted that Mayor Miguel was not the
meters away from the point of impact, a clear indication that Lozano employer of Lozano. Thus, paragraph 9 of the complaint alleged that
was driving at a very high speed at the time of the accident.[6] the Municipality of Koronadal was the employer of both Mayor Miguel
Marvin sustained severe head injuries with subdural hematoma and and Lozano. Not being the employer of Lozano, Mayor Miguel could
diffused cerebral contusion.[7] He was initially treated at the Howard not thus be held liable for the damages caused by the former. Mayor
Hubbard Memorial Hospital.[8] Due to the seriousness of his injuries, Miguel was a mere passenger in the Isuzu pick-up at the time of the
he was airlifted to the Ricardo Limso Medical Center in Davao City for accident.[14] (Emphasis supplied)
more intensive treatment.[9] Despite medical attention, Marvin expired The CA also reiterated the settled rule that it is the registered owner of
six (6) days after the accident.[10] a vehicle who is jointly and severally liable with the driver for damages
Petitioners spouses Buenaventura and Rosario Jayme, the parents of incurred by passengers or third persons as a consequence of injuries
Marvin, filed a complaint for damages with the RTC against or death sustained in the operation of the vehicle.
respondents.[11] In their complaint, they prayed that all respondents Issues
be held solidarily liable for their loss. They pointed out that that The spouses Jayme have resorted to the present recourse and assign
proximate cause of Marvins death was Lozanos negligent and reckless to the CA the following errors:
operation of the vehicle. They prayed for actual, moral, and exemplary I.the HONORABLE Court of Appeals erred IN holding that MAYOR
damages, attorneys fees, and litigation expenses. FERNANDO MIGUEL cannot be held liable for the death of marvin
In their respective Answers, all respondents denied liability for Marvins jayme which conclusion is contrary to law and the settled
death. Apostol and Simbulan averred that Lozano took the pick-up pronouncements of this honorable tribunal;
truck without their consent. Likewise, Miguel and Lozano pointed out II.THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF
that Marvins sudden sprint across the highway made it impossible to APPEALS ARE CONTRARY TO THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL
avoid the accident. Yet, Miguel denied being on board the vehicle when COURT AND ARE CONTRADICTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON
it hit Marvin. The Municipality of Koronadal adopted the answer of RECORD; MOREOVER, THE CONCLUSIONS DRAWN BY THE
Lozano and Miguel. As for First Integrated Bonding and Insurance HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ARE ALL BASED ON
Company, Inc., the vehicle insurer, it insisted that its liability is CONJECTURES AND SURMISES AND AGAINST ACCEPTED
contributory and is only conditioned on the right of the insured. Since COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS WHICH URGENTLY CALL
the insured did not file a claim within the prescribed period, any cause FOR AN EXERCISE OF THIS HONORABLE COURTS
of action against it had prescribed. SUPERVISION.[15]
RTC Disposition Our Ruling
On January 25, 1999, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of spouses The doctrine of vicarious liability or imputed liability finds no application
Jayme, the dispositive portion of which reads: in the present case.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the defendant Municipality of Spouses Jayme contend, inter alia, that vicarious liability attaches to
Koronadal cannot be held liable for the damages incurred by other Mayor Miguel. He was not a mere passenger, but instead one who had
defendant (sic) being an agency of the State performing a (sic) direct control and supervision over Lozano during the time of the
governmental functions. The same with defendant Hermogenes accident. According to petitioners, the element of direct control is not
Simbulan, not being the owner of the subject vehicle, he is absolved of negated by the fact that Lozanos employer was the Municipality of
any liability. Koronadal. Mayor Miguel, being Lozanos superior, still had control over
The complaint against defendant First Integrated Bonding Insurance the manner the vehicle was operated.
Company, Inc. is hereby ordered dismissed there being no cause of Article 2180[16] of the Civil Code provides that a person is not only
action against said insurance company. liable for ones own quasi-delictual acts, but also for those persons for
However, defendants Fidel Lozano, Rodrigo Apostol, and Mayor whom one is responsible for. This liability is popularly known as
Fernando Miguel of Koronadal, South Cotabato, are hereby ordered vicarious or imputed liability. To sustain claims against employers for
jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff (sic) the following sums: the acts of their employees, the following requisites must be
1. One Hundred Seventy Three Thousand One Hundred One and established: (1) That the employee was chosen by the employer
Forty Centavos (P173,101.40) Pesos as actual damages with legal personally or through another; (2) That the service to be rendered in
interest of 12% per annum computed from February 11, 1989 until fully accordance with orders which the employer has the authority to give at
paid; all times; and (3) That the illicit act of the employee was on the occasion
2. Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as moral damages; or by reason of the functions entrusted to him.[17]
3. Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos as exemplary damages; Significantly, to make the employee liable under paragraphs 5 and 6 of
4. Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos as Attorneys fees; Article 2180, it must be established that the injurious or tortuous act
was committed at the time the employee was performing his 297, 269 Pac. 425]; Guild v. Brown, 115 Cal. App. 374 [1 Pac. (2d)
functions.[18] 528]; Ellis v. Southern Ry. Co., 72 S. C. 464 [2 L. R. A. (N. S.) 378, 52
Furthermore, the employer-employee relationship cannot be S. E. 228]; Thurman v. Pittsburg & M. Copper Co., 41 Mont. 141 [108
assumed. It is incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove the relationship by Pac. 588]; 2 Cor. Jur., p. 829; and see the elaborate note in 61 A. L. R.
preponderant evidence. In Belen v. Belen,[19] this Court ruled that it 277, and particularly that part commencing at p. 290.) We can see no
was enough for defendant to deny an alleged employment relationship. logical reason for drawing any distinction in this regard between
The defendant is under no obligation to prove the negative averment. actionable negligence and contributory negligence. x x x[29]
This Court said: The rule was reiterated in Bryant v. Pacific Elec. Ry. Co.[30] and again
It is an old and well-settled rule of the courts that the burden of proving in Sichterman v. Hollingshead Co.[31]
the action is upon the plaintiff, and that if he fails satisfactorily to show In Swanson v. McQuown,[32] a case involving a military officer who
the facts upon which he bases his claim, the defendant is under no happened to be riding in a car driven by a subordinate later involved in
obligation to prove his exceptions. This rue is in harmony with the an accident, the Colorado Supreme Court adhered to the general rule
provisions of Section 297 of the Code of Civil Procedure holding that that a public official is not liable for the wrongful acts of his subordinates
each party must prove his own affirmative allegations, etc.[20] on a vicarious basis since the relationship is not a true master-servant
In resolving the present controversy, it is imperative to find out if Mayor situation.[33] The court went on to rule that the only exception is when
Miguel is, indeed, the employer of Lozano and therefore liable for the they cooperate in the act complained of, or direct or encourage it.[34]
negligent acts of the latter. To determine the existence of an In the case at bar, Mayor Miguel was neither Lozanos employer nor
employment relationship, We rely on the four-fold test. This involves: the vehicles registered owner. There existed no causal relationship
(1) the employers power of selection; (2) payment of wages or other between him and Lozano or the vehicle used that will make him
remuneration; (3) the employers right to control the method of doing accountable for Marvins death. Mayor Miguel was a mere passenger
the work; and (4) the employers right of suspension or dismissal.[21] at the time of the accident.
Applying the foregoing test, the CA correctly held that it was the Parenthetically, it has been held that the failure of a passenger to assist
Municipality of Koronadal which was the lawful employer of Lozano at the driver, by providing him warnings or by serving as lookout does not
the time of the accident. It is uncontested that Lozano was employed make the passenger liable for the latters negligent acts.[35] The drivers
as a driver by the municipality. That he was subsequently assigned to duty is not one that may be delegated to others.[36]
Mayor Miguel during the time of the accident is of no moment. This As correctly held by the trial court, the true and lawful employer of
Court has, on several occasions, held that an employer-employee Lozano is the Municipality of Koronadal. Unfortunately for Spouses
relationship still exists even if the employee was loaned by the Jayme, the municipality may not be sued because it is an agency of
employer to another person or entity because control over the the State engaged in governmental functions and, hence, immune from
employee subsists.[22] In the case under review, the Municipality of suit. This immunity is illustrated in Municipality of San Fernando, La
Koronadal remains to be Lozanos employer notwithstanding Lozanos Union v. Firme,[37] where this Court held:
assignment to Mayor Miguel. It has already been remarked that municipal corporations are suable
Spouses Jayme argued that Mayor Miguel had at least supervision and because their charters grant them the competence to sue and be sued.
control over Lozano and how the latter operated or drove the Isuzu Nevertheless, they are generally not liable for torts committed by them
pick-up during the time of the accident. They, however, failed to in the discharge of governmental functions and can only be held
buttress this claim. answerable only if it can be shown that they were acting in proprietary
Even assuming arguendo that Mayor Miguel had authority to give capacity. In permitting such entities to be sued, the State merely gives
instructions or directions to Lozano, he still can not be held liable. In the claimant the right to show that the defendant was not acting in
Benson v. Sorrell,[23] the New England Supreme Court ruled that mere governmental capacity when the injury was committed or that the case
giving of directions to the driver does not establish that the passenger comes under the exceptions recognized by law. Failing this, the
has control over the vehicle. Neither does it render one the employer claimant cannot recover.[38]
of the driver. This Court, in Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon,[24] ruled in a similar Verily, liability attaches to the registered owner, the negligent driver
vein, to wit: and his direct employer. The CA observation along this line are worth
x x x The fact that a client company may give instructions or directions restating:
to the security guards assigned to it, does not, by itself, render the client Settled is the rule that the registered owner of a vehicle is jointly and
responsible as an employer of the security guards concerned and liable severally liable with the driver for damages incurred by passengers and
for their wrongful acts and omissions. Those instructions or directions third persons as a consequence of injuries or death sustained in the
are ordinarily no more than requests commonly envisaged in the operation of said vehicles. Regardless of who the actual owner of the
contract for services entered into with the security agency. x x x[25] vehicle is, the operator of record continues to be the operator of the
(Emphasis supplied) vehicle as regards the public and third persons, and as such is directly
Significantly, no negligence may be imputed against a fellow employee and primarily responsible for the consequences incident (sic) to its
although the person may have the right to control the manner of the operation x x x.[39]
vehicles operation.[26] In the absence of an employer-employee The accidental death of Marvin Jayme is a tragic loss for his parents.
relationship establishing vicarious liability, the drivers negligence However, justice demands that only those liable under our laws be held
should not be attributed to a fellow employee who only happens to be accountable for Marvins demise. Justice can not sway in favor of
an occupant of the vehicle.[27] Whatever right of control the occupant petitioners simply to assuage their pain and loss. The law on the matter
may have over the driver is not sufficient by itself to justify an is clear: only the negligent driver, the drivers employer, and the
application of the doctrine of vicarious liability. Handley v. Lombardi[28] registered owner of the vehicle are liable for the death of a third person
is instructive on this exception to the rule on vicarious liability: resulting from the negligent operation of the vehicle.
Plaintiff was not the master or principal of the driver of the truck, but WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the appealed Decision
only an intermediate and superior employee or agent. This being so, AFFIRMED.
the doctrine of respondeat superior or qui facit per alium is not properly
applicable to him. His power to direct and control the driver was not as MACARIO TAMARGO, CELSO TAMARGO and AURELIA
master, but only by virtue of the fact that they were both employed by TAMARGO, vs.
Kruse, and the further fact that as Kruses agent he was delegated HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. ARISTON L. RUBIO, RTC
Kruses authority over the driver. x x x On 20 October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10 years of
In the case of actionable negligence, the rule is well settled both in this age, shot Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle causing injuries which
state and elsewhere that the negligence of a subordinate employee or resulted in her death. Accordingly, a civil complaint for damages was
subagent is not to be imputed to a superior employee or agent, but only filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Vigan, Ilocos Sur,
to the master or principal. (Hilton v. Oliver, 204 Cal. 535 [61 A. L. R. docketed as Civil Case No. 3457-V, by petitioner Macario Tamargo,
Jennifer's adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia manifest injustice, elects to treat the notice of appeal as having been
Tamargo, Jennifer's natural parents against respondent spouses Victor seasonably filed before the trial court, and the motion (and
and Clara Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents with whom he was living supplemental motion) for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the trial
at the time of the tragic incident. In addition to this case for damages, court as having interrupted the reglementary period for appeal. As the
a criminal information or Homicide through Reckless Imprudence was Court held in Gregorio v. Court of Appeals: 3
filed [Criminal Case No. 1722-V] against Adelberto Bundoc. Adelberto, Dismissal of appeal; purely on technical grounds is frowned upon
however, was acquitted and exempted from criminal liability on the where the policy of the courts is to encourage hearings of appeal on
ground that he bad acted without discernment. their merits. The rules of procedure ought not be applied in a very rigid
Prior to the incident, or on 10 December 1981, the spouses Sabas and technical sense, rules of procedure are used only to help secure not
Felisa Rapisura had filed a petition to adopt the minor Adelberto override, substantial justice. if d technical and rigid enforcement of the
Bundoc in Special Proceedings No. 0373-T before the then Court of rules is made their aim would be defeated. 4
First Instance of Ilocos Sur. This petition for adoption was grunted on, 2. It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of shooting
18 November 1982, that is, after Adelberto had shot and killed Jennifer. Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle gave rise to a cause of action on
In their Answer, respondent spouses Bundoc, Adelberto's natural quasi-delict against him. As Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides:
parents, reciting the result of the foregoing petition for adoption, Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
claimed that not they, but rather the adopting parents, namely the fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault
spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura, were indispensable parties to the or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
action since parental authority had shifted to the adopting parents from the parties, is called a quasi-delict . . .
the moment the successful petition for adoption was filed. Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and,
Petitioners in their Reply contended that since Adelberto Bundoc was in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that
then actually living with his natural parents, parental authority had not may be caused by a minor child who lives with them. Article 2180 of
ceased nor been relinquished by the mere filing and granting of a the Civil Code reads:
petition for adoption. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for
The trial court on 3 December 1987 dismissed petitioners' complaint, one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
ruling that respondent natural parents of Adelberto indeed were not one is responsible.
indispensable parties to the action. The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
Petitioners received a copy of the trial court's Decision on 7 December responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
1987. Within the 15-day reglementary period, or on 14 December their company.
1987, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration followed by a xxx xxx xxx
supplemental motion for reconsideration on 15 January 1988. It The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the person
appearing, however, that the motions failed to comply with Sections 4 herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
and 5 of Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Court — that notice of the father of a family to prevent damage. (Emphasis supplied)
motion shall be given to all parties concerned at least three (3) days This principle of parental liability is a species of what is frequently
before the hearing of said motion; and that said notice shall state the designated as vicarious liability, or the doctrine of "imputed negligence"
time and place of hearing — both motions were denied by the trial court under Anglo-American tort law, where a person is not only liable for
in an Order dated 18 April 1988. On 28 April 1988, petitioners filed a torts committed by himself, but also for torts committed by others with
notice of appeal. In its Order dated 6 June 1988, the trial court whom he has a certain relationship and for whom he is responsible.
dismissed the notice at appeal, this time ruling that the notice had been Thus, parental liability is made a natural or logical consequence of the
filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period ending 22 December duties and responsibilities of parents — their parental authority —
1987. which includes the instructing, controlling and disciplining of the child.
Petitioners went to the Court of Appeals on a petition for mandamus 5 The basis for the doctrine of vicarious liability was explained by the
and certiorari questioning the trial court's Decision dated 3 December Court in Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co. 6 in the following terms:
1987 and the Orders dated 18 April 1988 and 6 June 1988, The Court With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence,
of Appeals dismissed the petition, ruling that petitioners had lost their whether of act or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect
right to appeal. — and our Legislature has so elected — to limit such liability to cases
In the present Petition for Review, petitioners once again contend that in which the person upon whom such an obligation is imposed is
respondent spouses Bundoc are the indispensable parties to the action morally culpable or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy. to
for damages caused by the acts of their minor child, Adelberto Bundoc. extend that liability, without regard to the lack of moral culpability, so
Resolution of this Petition hinges on the following issues: (1) whether as to include responsibility for the negligence of those persons whose
or not petitioners, notwithstanding loss of their right to appeal, may still acts or omissions are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in
file the instant Petition; conversely, whether the Court may still take a position to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The
cognizance of the case even through petitioners' appeal had been filed legislature which adopted our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-
out of time; and (2) whether or not the effects of adoption, insofar as contractual liability — with certain well-defined exceptions — to cases
parental authority is concerned may be given retroactive effect so as in which moral culpability can be directly imputed to the persons to be
to make the adopting parents the indispensable parties in a damage charged. This moral responsibility may consist in having failed to
case filed against their adopted child, for acts committed by the latter, exercise due care in one's own acts, or in having failed to exercise due
when actual custody was yet lodged with the biological parents. care in the selection and control of one's agent or servants, or in the
1. It will be recalled that, petitioners' motion (and supplemental motion) control of persons who, by reasons of their status, occupy a position of
for reconsideration filed before the trial court, not having complied with dependency with respect to the person made liable for their conduct. 7
the requirements of Section 13, Rule 41, and Section 4, Rule 15, of the (Emphasis Supplied)
Revised Rules of Court, were considered pro forma and hence did not The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their minor
interrupt and suspend the reglementary period to appeal: the trial court children living with them, may be seen to be based upon the parental
held that the motions, not having contained a notice of time and place authority vested by the Civil Code upon such parents. The civil law
of hearing, had become useless pieces of paper which did not interrupt assumes that when an unemancipated child living with its parents
the reglementary period. 1 As in fact repeatedly held by this Court, what commits a tortious acts, the parents were negligent in the performance
is mandatory is the service of the motion on the opposing counsel of their legal and natural duty closely to supervise the child who is in
indicating the time and place of hearing. 2 their custody and control. Parental liability is, in other words, anchored
In view, however, of the nature of the issue raised in the instant. upon parental authority coupled with presumed parental dereliction in
Petition, and in order that substantial justice may be served, the Court, the discharge of the duties accompanying such authority. The parental
invoking its right to suspend the application of technical rules to prevent dereliction is, of course, only presumed and the presumption can be
overtuned under Article 2180 of the Civil Code by proof that the parents doctrine of vicarious liability. Put a little differently, no presumption of
had exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent parental dereliction on the part of the adopting parents, the Rapisura
the damage. spouses, could have arisen since Adelberto was not in fact subject to
In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto with an air their control at the time the tort was committed.
rifle occured when parental authority was still lodged in respondent Article 35 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code fortifies the conclusion
Bundoc spouses, the natural parents of the minor Adelberto. It would reached above. Article 35 provides as follows:
thus follow that the natural parents who had then actual custody of the Art. 35. Trial Custody. — No petition for adoption shall be finally
minor Adelberto, are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages. granted unless and until the adopting parents are given by the courts
The natural parents of Adelberto, however, stoutly maintain that a supervised trial custody period of at least six months to assess their
because a decree of adoption was issued by the adoption court in favor adjustment and emotional readiness for the legal union. During the
of the Rapisura spouses, parental authority was vested in the latter as period of trial custody, parental authority shall be vested in the adopting
adopting parents as of the time of the filing of the petition for adoption parents. (Emphasis supplied)
that is, before Adelberto had shot Jennifer which an air rifle. The Under the above Article 35, parental authority is provisionally vested in
Bundoc spouses contend that they were therefore free of any parental the adopting parents during the period of trial custody, i.e., before the
responsibility for Adelberto's allegedly tortious conduct. issuance of a decree of adoption, precisely because the adopting
Respondent Bundoc spouses rely on Article 36 of the Child and Youth parents are given actual custody of the child during such trial period. In
Welfare Code 8 which reads as follows: the instant case, the trial custody period either had not yet begun or
Art. 36. Decree of Adoption. — If, after considering the report of the bad already been completed at the time of the air rifle shooting; in any
Department of Social Welfare or duly licensed child placement agency case, actual custody of Adelberto was then with his natural parents,
and the evidence submitted before it, the court is satisfied that the not the adopting parents.
petitioner is qualified to maintain, care for, and educate the child, that Accordingly, we conclude that respondent Bundoc spouses,
the trial custody period has been completed, and that the best interests Adelberto's natural parents, were indispensable parties to the suit for
of the child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall damages brought by petitioners, and that the dismissal by the trial court
be entered, which shall be effective he date the original petition was of petitioners' complaint, the indispensable parties being already
filed. The decree shall state the name by which the child is thenceforth before the court, constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to
to be known. (Emphasis supplied) lack or excess of jurisdiction.
The Bundoc spouses further argue that the above Article 36 should be WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review is hereby
read in relation to Article 39 of the same Code: GRANTED DUE COURSE and the Decision of the Court of Appeals
Art. 39. Effect of Adoption. — The adoption shall: dated 6 September 1988, in C.A.-G.R. No. SP-15016 is hereby
xxx xxx xxx REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners' complaint filed before the
(2) Dissolve the authority vested in the natural parents, except where trial court is hereby REINSTATED and this case is REMANDED to that
the adopter is the spouse of the surviving natural parent; court for further proceedings consistent with this Decision. Costs
xxx xxx xxx against respondent Bundoc spouses. This Decision is immediately
(Emphasis supplied) executory.
and urge that their Parental authority must be deemed to have been
dissolved as of the time the Petition for adoption was filed. CASTILEX INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. VICENTE
The Court is not persuaded. As earlier noted, under the Civil Code, the VASQUEZ, JR. and LUISA SO VASQUEZ
basis of parental liability for the torts of a minor child is the relationship The pivotal issue in this petition is whether an employer may be held
existing between the parents and the minor child living with them and vicariously liable for the death resulting from the negligent operation by
over whom, the law presumes, the parents exercise supervision and a managerial employee of a company-issued vehicle.
control. Article 58 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code, re-enacted this The antecedents, as succinctly summarized by the Court of Appeals,
rule: are as follows:
Article 58 Torts — Parents and guardians are responsible for the On 28 August 1988, at around 1:30 to 2:00 in the morning, Romeo So
damage caused by the child under their parental authority in Vasquez, was driving a Honda motorcycle around Fuente Osmea
accordance with the civil Code. (Emphasis supplied) Rotunda. He was traveling counter-clockwise, (the normal flow of traffic
Article 221 of the Family Code of the Philippines 9 has similarly insisted in a rotunda) but without any protective helmet or goggles. He was also
upon the requisite that the child, doer of the tortious act, shall have only carrying a Students Permit to Drive at the time. Upon the other
beer in the actual custody of the parents sought to be held liable for the hand, Benjamin Abad [was a] manager of Appellant Castilex Industrial
ensuing damage: Corporation, registered owner [of] a Toyota Hi-Lux Pick-up with plate
Art. 221. Parents and other persons exercising parental authority shall no. GBW-794. On the same date and time, Abad drove the said
be civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the acts or company car out of a parking lot but instead of going around the Osmea
omissions of their unemancipated children living in their company and rotunda he made a short cut against [the] flow of the traffic in
under their parental authority subject to the appropriate defenses proceeding to his route to General Maxilom St. or to Belvic St.
provided by law. (Emphasis supplied) In the process, the motorcycle of Vasquez and the pick-up of Abad
We do not believe that parental authority is properly regarded as having collided with each other causing severe injuries to the former. Abad
been retroactively transferred to and vested in the adopting parents, stopped his vehicle and brought Vasquez to the Southern Islands
the Rapisura spouses, at the time the air rifle shooting happened. We Hospital and later to the Cebu Doctors Hospital.
do not consider that retroactive effect may be giver to the decree of On September 5, 1988, Vasquez died at the Cebu Doctors Hospital. It
adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting parents accruing was there that Abad signed an acknowledgment of Responsible Party
at a time when adopting parents had no actual or physically custody (Exhibit K) wherein he agreed to pay whatever hospital bills,
over the adopted child. Retroactive affect may perhaps be given to the professional fees and other incidental charges Vasquez may incur.
granting of the petition for adoption where such is essential to permit After the police authorities had conducted the investigation of the
the accrual of some benefit or advantage in favor of the adopted child. accident, a Criminal Case was filed against Abad but which was
In the instant case, however, to hold that parental authority had been subsequently dismissed for failure to prosecute. So, the present action
retroactively lodged in the Rapisura spouses so as to burden them with for damages was commenced by Vicente Vasquez, Jr. and Luisa So
liability for a tortious act that they could not have foreseen and which Vasquez, parents of the deceased Romeo So Vasquez, against Jose
they could not have prevented (since they were at the time in the United Benjamin Abad and Castilex Industrial Corporation. In the same action,
States and had no physical custody over the child Adelberto) would be Cebu Doctors Hospital intervened to collect unpaid balance for the
unfair and unconscionable. Such a result, moreover, would be medical expense given to Romeo So Vasquez.[1]
inconsistent with the philosophical and policy basis underlying the
The trial court ruled in favor of private respondents Vicente and Luisa SEC. 11. Priorities in modes of service and filing. -- Whenever
Vasquez and ordered Jose Benjamin Abad (hereafter ABAD) and practicable, the service and filing of pleadings and other papers shall
petitioner Castilex Industrial Corporation (hereafter CASTILEX) to pay be done personally. Except with respect to papers emanating from the
jointly and solidarily (1) Spouses Vasquez, the amounts of P8,000.00 court, a resort to other modes must be accompanied by a written
for burial expenses; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P10,000.00 as explanation why the service or filing was not done personally. A
attorneys fees; and P778,752.00 for loss of earning capacity; and (2) violation of this Rule may be cause to consider the paper as not filed.
Cebu Doctors Hospital, the sum of P50,927.83 for unpaid medical and The explanation why service of a copy of the petition upon the Court of
hospital bills at 3% monthly interest from 27 July 1989 until fully paid, Appeals was done by registered mail is found on Page 28 of the
plus the costs of litigation.[2] petition. Thus, there has been compliance with the aforequoted
CASTILEX and ABAD separately appealed the decision. provision.
In its decision[3] of 21 May 1997, the Court of Appeals affirmed the As regards the allegation of violation of the material data rule under
ruling of the trial court holding ABAD and CASTILEX liable but held that Section 4 of Rule 45, the same is unfounded. The material dates
the liability of the latter is only vicarious and not solidary with the former. required to be stated in the petition are the following: (1) the date of
It reduced the award of damages representing loss of earning capacity receipt of the judgment or final order or resolution subject of the
from P778,752.00 to P214,156.80; and the interest on the hospital and petition; (2) the date of filing of a motion for new trial or reconsideration,
medical bills, from 3% per month to 12% per annum from 5 September if any; and (3) the date of receipt of the notice of the denial of the
1988 until fully paid. motion. Contrary to private respondents claim, the petition need not
Upon CASTILEXs motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals indicate the dates of the expiration of the original reglementary period
modified its decision by (1) reducing the award of moral damages from and the filing of a motion for extension of time to file the petition. At any
P50,000 to P30,000 in view of the deceaseds contributory negligence; rate, aside from the material dates required under Section 4 of Rule
(b) deleting the award of attorneys fees for lack of evidence; and (c) 45, petitioner CASTILEX also stated in the first page of the petition the
reducing the interest on hospital and medical bills to 6% per annum date it filed the motion for extension of time to file the petition.
from 5 September 1988 until fully paid.[4] Now on the merits of the case.
Hence, CASTILEX filed the instant petition contending that the Court The negligence of ABAD is not an issue at this instance. Petitioner
of Appeals erred in (1) applying to the case the fifth paragraph of Article CASTILEX presumes said negligence but claims that it is not
2180 of the Civil Code, instead of the fourth paragraph thereof; (2) that vicariously liable for the injuries and subsequent death caused by
as a managerial employee, ABAD was deemed to have been always ABAD.
acting within the scope of his assigned task even outside office hours Petitioner contends that the fifth paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil
because he was using a vehicle issued to him by petitioner; and (3) Code should only apply to instances where the employer is not
ruling that petitioner had the burden to prove that the employee was engaged in business or industry. Since it is engaged in the business of
not acting within the scope of his assigned task. manufacturing and selling furniture it is therefore not covered by said
Jose Benjamin ABAD merely adopted the statement of facts of provision. Instead, the fourth paragraph should apply.
petitioner which holds fast on the theory of negligence on the part of Petitioners interpretation of the fifth paragraph is not accurate. The
the deceased. phrase even though the former are not engaged in any business or
On the other hand, respondents Spouses Vasquez argue that their industry found in the fifth paragraph should be interpreted to mean that
sons death was caused by the negligence of petitioners employee who it is not necessary for the employer to be engaged in any business or
was driving a vehicle issued by petitioner and who was on his way industry to be liable for the negligence of his employee who is acting
home from overtime work for petitioner; and that petitioner is thus liable within the scope of his assigned task.[5]
for the resulting injury and subsequent death of their son on the basis A distinction must be made between the two provisions to determine
of the fifth paragraph of Article 2180. Even if the fourth paragraph of what is applicable. Both provisions apply to employers: the fourth
Article 2180 were applied, petitioner cannot escape liability therefor. paragraph, to owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise;
They moreover argue that the Court of Appeals erred in reducing the and the fifth paragraph, to employers in general, whether or not
amount of compensatory damages when the award made by the trial engaged in any business or industry. The fourth paragraph covers
court was borne both by evidence adduced during the trial regarding negligent acts of employees committed either in the service of the
deceaseds wages and by jurisprudence on life expectancy. Moreover, branches or on the occasion of their functions, while the fifth paragraph
they point out that the petition is procedurally not acceptable on the encompasses negligent acts of employees acting within the scope of
following grounds: (1) lack of an explanation for serving the petition their assigned task. The latter is an expansion of the former in both
upon the Court of Appeals by registered mail, as required under employer coverage and acts included. Negligent acts of employees,
Section 11, Rule 13 of the Rules of Civil Procedure; and (2) lack of a whether or not the employer is engaged in a business or industry, are
statement of the dates of the expiration of the original reglementary covered so long as they were acting within the scope of their assigned
period and of the filing of the motion for extension of time to file a task, even though committed neither in the service of the branches nor
petition for review. on the occasion of their functions. For, admittedly, employees
For its part, respondent Cebu Doctors Hospital maintains that petitioner oftentimes wear different hats. They perform functions which are
CASTILEX is indeed vicariously liable for the injuries and subsequent beyond their office, title or designation but which, nevertheless, are still
death of Romeo Vasquez caused by ABAD, who was on his way home within the call of duty.
from taking snacks after doing overtime work for petitioner. Although This court has applied the fifth paragraph to cases where the employer
the incident occurred when ABAD was not working anymore the was engaged in a business or industry such as truck operators[6] and
inescapable fact remains that said employee would not have been banks.[7] The Court of Appeals cannot, therefore, be faulted in
situated at such time and place had he not been required by petitioner applying the said paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code to this
to do overtime work. Moreover, since petitioner adopted the evidence case.
adduced by ABAD, it cannot, as the latters employer, inveigle itself Under the fifth paragraph of Article 2180, whether or not engaged in
from the ambit of liability, and is thus estopped by the records of the any business or industry, an employer is liable for the torts committed
case, which it failed to refute. by employees within the scope of his assigned tasks. But it is
We shall first address the issue raised by the private respondents necessary to establish the employer-employee relationship; once this
regarding some alleged procedural lapses in the petition. is done, the plaintiff must show, to hold the employer liable, that the
Private respondents contention of petitioners violation of Section 11 of employee was acting within the scope of his assigned task when the
Rule 13 and Section 4 of Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure tort complained of was committed. It is only then that the employer may
holds no water. find it necessary to interpose the defense of due diligence in the
Section 11 of Rule 13 provides: selection and supervision of the employee.[8]
It is undisputed that ABAD was a Production Manager of petitioner In the same vein, traveling to and from the place of work is ordinarily a
CASTILEX at the time of the tort occurrence. As to whether he was personal problem or concern of the employee, and not a part of his
acting within the scope of his assigned task is a question of fact, which services to his employer. Hence, in the absence of some special
the court a quo and the Court of Appeals resolved in the affirmative. benefit to the employer other than the mere performance of the
Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that the factual findings services available at the place where he is needed, the employee is
of the Court of Appeals are entitled to great respect, and even finality not acting within the scope of his employment even though he uses his
at times. This rule is, however, subject to exceptions such as when the employers motor vehicle.[14]
conclusion is grounded on speculations, surmises, or conjectures.[9] The employer may, however, be liable where he derives some special
Such exception obtain in the present case to warrant review by this benefit from having the employee drive home in the employers vehicle
Court of the finding of the Court of Appeals that since ABAD was driving as when the employer benefits from having the employee at work
petitioners vehicle he was acting within the scope of his duties as a earlier and, presumably, spending more time at his actual duties.
manager. Where the employees duties require him to circulate in a general area
Before we pass upon the issue of whether ABAD was performing acts with no fixed place or hours of work, or to go to and from his home to
within the range of his employment, we shall first take up the other various outside places of work, and his employer furnishes him with a
reason invoked by the Court of Appeals in holding petitioner CASTILEX vehicle to use in his work, the courts have frequently applied what has
vicariously liable for ABADs negligence, i.e., that the petitioner did not been called the special errand or roving commission rule, under which
present evidence that ABAD was not acting within the scope of his it can be found that the employee continues in the service of his
assigned tasks at the time of the motor vehicle mishap. Contrary to the employer until he actually reaches home. However, even if the
ruling of the Court of Appeals, it was not incumbent upon the petitioner employee be deemed to be acting within the scope of his employment
to prove the same. It was enough for petitioner CASTILEX to deny that in going to or from work in his employers vehicle, the employer is not
ABAD was acting within the scope of his duties; petitioner was not liable for his negligence where at the time of the accident, the employee
under obligation to prove this negative averment. Ei incumbit probatio has left the direct route to his work or back home and is pursuing a
qui dicit, non qui negat (He who asserts, not he who denies, must personal errand of his own.
prove). The Court has consistently applied the ancient rule that if the III. Use of Employers Vehicle Outside Regular Working Hours
plaintiff, upon whom rests the burden of proving his cause of action, An employer who loans his motor vehicle to an employee for the latters
fails to show in a satisfactory manner facts which he bases his claim, personal use outside of regular working hours is generally not liable for
the defendant is under no obligation to prove his exception or the employees negligent operation of the vehicle during the period of
defense.[10] permissive use, even where the employer contemplates that a
Now on the issue of whether the private respondents have sufficiently regularly assigned motor vehicle will be used by the employee for
established that ABAD was acting within the scope of his assigned personal as well as business purposes and there is some incidental
tasks. benefit to the employer. Even where the employees personal purpose
ABAD, who was presented as a hostile witness, testified that at the in using the vehicle has been accomplished and he has started the
time of the incident, he was driving a company-issued vehicle, return trip to his house where the vehicle is normally kept, it has been
registered under the name of petitioner. He was then leaving the held that he has not resumed his employment, and the employer is not
restaurant where he had some snacks and had a chat with his friends liable for the employees negligent operation of the vehicle during the
after having done overtime work for the petitioner. return trip.[15]
No absolutely hard and fast rule can be stated which will furnish the The foregoing principles and jurisprudence are applicable in our
complete answer to the problem of whether at a given moment, an jurisdiction albeit based on the doctrine of respondeat superior, not on
employee is engaged in his employers business in the operation of a the principle of bonus pater familias as in ours. Whether the fault or
motor vehicle, so as to fix liability upon the employer because of the negligence of the employee is conclusive on his employer as in
employees action or inaction; but rather, the result varies with each American law or jurisprudence, or merely gives rise to the presumption
state of facts.[11] juris tantum of negligence on the part of the employer as in ours, it is
In Filamer Christian Institute v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[12] this indispensable that the employee was acting in his employers business
Court had the occasion to hold that acts done within the scope of the or within the scope of his assigned task.[16]
employees assigned tasks includes any act done by an employee in In the case at bar, it is undisputed that ABAD did some overtime work
furtherance of the interests of the employer or for the account of the at the petitioners office, which was located in Cabangcalan, Mandaue
employer at the time of the infliction of the injury or damages. City. Thereafter, he went to Goldies Restaurant in Fuente Osmea,
The court a quo and the Court of Appeals were one in holding that the Cebu City, which is about seven kilometers away from petitioners place
driving by a manager of a company-issued vehicle is within the scope of business.[17] A witness for the private respondents, a sidewalk
of his assigned tasks regardless of the time and circumstances. vendor, testified that Fuente Osmea is a lively place even at dawn
We do not agree. The mere fact that ABAD was using a service vehicle because Goldies Restaurant and Back Street were still open and
at the time of the injurious incident is not of itself sufficient to charge people were drinking thereat. Moreover, prostitutes, pimps, and drug
petitioner with liability for the negligent operation of said vehicle unless addicts littered the place.[18]
it appears that he was operating the vehicle within the course or scope At the Goldies Restaurant, ABAD took some snacks and had a chat
of his employment. with friends. It was when ABAD was leaving the restaurant that the
The following are principles in American Jurisprudence on the incident in question occurred. That same witness for the private
employers liability for the injuries inflicted by the negligence of an respondents testified that at the time of the vehicular accident, ABAD
employee in the use of an employers motor vehicle: was with a woman in his car, who then shouted: Daddy, Daddy![19]
I. Operation of Employers Motor Vehicle in Going to or from Meals This woman could not have been ABADs daughter, for ABAD was only
It has been held that an employee who uses his employers vehicle in 29 years old at the time.
going from his work to a place where he intends to eat or in returning To the mind of this Court, ABAD was engaged in affairs of his own or
to work from a meal is not ordinarily acting within the scope of his was carrying out a personal purpose not in line with his duties at the
employment in the absence of evidence of some special business time he figured in a vehicular accident. It was then about 2:00 a.m. of
benefit to the employer. Evidence that by using the employers vehicle 28 August 1988, way beyond the normal working hours. ABADs
to go to and from meals, an employee is enabled to reduce his time-off working day had ended; his overtime work had already been
and so devote more time to the performance of his duties supports the completed. His being at a place which, as petitioner put it, was known
finding that an employee is acting within the scope of his employment as a haven for prostitutes, pimps, and drug pushers and addicts, had
while so driving the vehicle.[13] no connection to petitioners business; neither had it any relation to his
II. Operation of Employers Vehicle in Going to or from Work duties as a manager. Rather, using his service vehicle even for
personal purposes was a form of a fringe benefit or one of the perks exclusive property, the first having been acquired by him by inheritance
attached to his position. from his mother Valeria Alcantara, who in her turn had acquired it by
Since there is paucity of evidence that ABAD was acting within the purchase from Ramon Biglete in 1885, and the second by inheritance
scope of the functions entrusted to him, petitioner CASTILEX had no from his father Facundo Belen, as the share of the estate falling to him
duty to show that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family upon the division of the property of his father among his sons and
in providing ABAD with a service vehicle. Thus, justice and equity legitimate descendants; and that the plaintiffs had no right or interest
require that petitioner be relieved of vicarious liability for the over the above-mentioned lands, and therefore he asked the court to
consequences of the negligence of ABAD in driving its vehicle.[20] render judgment in his favor absolving him from the complaint with the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the appealed decision costs against the plaintiffs.
and resolution of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the After hearing the evidence adduced by both parties, and the exhibits
modification that petitioner Castilex Industrial Corporation be absolved introduced at the trial having been made of record, the lower court, on
of any liability for the damages caused by its employee, Jose Benjamin March 10, 1908, entered judgment absolving the defendant from the
Abad. complaint with the costs against the plaintiffs, whose counsel, upon
being notified of the decision, duly excepted thereto and moved for a
G.R. No. L-5002 March 18, 1909 MARTIN BELEN, ET AL vs. new trial on the ground that the judgment was contrary to the weight of
ALEJO BELEN, the evidence and that the evidence did not support the judgment; his
On October 4, 1907, Martin Belen and Honoria Belen, the latter motion was overruled, the plaintiffs excepted and the corresponding bill
assisted by her husband Segundo Capuno, filed an amended of exceptions having been presented was duly approved and
complaint against Alejo Belen stating: That the plaintiffs were both forwarded to this court.
under age, wherefore they requested the court to appoint a guardian By a well-stated rule of the courts, a person who brings an action to
ad litem, who might be Gerardo Belen, to represent them at this trial; recover possession, like the one at bar, is under the obligation fully to
that, several years prior to 1888, Getulio Belen, during his marriage prove, not only his ownership, but also the identity of the thing claimed.
with Juliana Fanoy, both residents of San Pablo, had two children As counsel for the plaintiffs has failed to comply with these requisites,
named Marciana and Feliciano Belen, the said spouses having they are not entitled to a final judgment in their favor, declaring them to
acquired a great portion of the property hereinafter described with be the exclusive owners of the two parcels of land claimed in the
money belonging to the conjugal partnership; that Getulio Belen had complaint, and against the defendant by sentencing him to return them
inherited only a small portion of the property from his father, which said land together with its products or the value thereof.
property consists of a tract of land planted with 600 cocoanut trees, They not only failed to prove that they were in possession of said
situated in the barrio of Santa Maria Magdalena in the municipality of parcels of land under title of ownership prior to 1902, but also the fact
San Pablo, and is bounded on the north by land of Cornelio Belen; on that they actually lost their possession in the unlikely and incredible
the east and south, by land of Venancio Alimon, and on the north (west) manner they claim, in other words, that Gerardo Belen, upon the
by the lands of Venancio Alimon, Geronimo Sahagun, and Faustina request of the defendant, agreed to deliver to the latter the aforesaid
Belen; another parcel of land also planted with 600 cocoanut trees, parcels of land for the purpose of building thereon a camarin
situated in the said barrio, is bounded on the north by the cocoanut (warehouse) for the manufacture of oil, though later Alejo Belen, in
groves of Lucas Baldovino and Alejo Belen, on the east by the latter's spite of his repeated demands refused to return the said lands to him.
land, on the south by lands belonging to the said Alejo Belen and Maria This was a cession as peculiar as inexplicable, which prompts the
Belen, and on the west by those belonging to Pedro and Francisco inference that at least a part of the cocoanut trees was destroyed,
Pandino; that on October 19 of that year, Getulio Belen died intestate, without any benefit to the persons claiming to be the owners.
and on September 17, 1890, Juliana Fanoy contracted another The mere possession of a thing is sufficient to insure respect to the
marriage with Gerardo Belen, from which marriage the plaintiffs possessor while no other person appears to show and prove better
Honoria Belen and Martin Belen were born on November 20, 1890, and right, according to the doctrine of the courts. (Art. 446, Civil Code.) The
November 10, 1892 respectively; that on July 15, 1895, Juliana Fanoy defendant has proved that he has been for many years in possession
died intestate, leaving as her heirs her four children born from two of the lands in question under title of ownership, and therefore, whether
marriages, Marciana, Feliciano, Honoria, and Martin, all of the surname the proof of his right of ownership be or be not sufficient, so long as no
Belen; that Marciana Belen died on August 23, 1900, as did Feliciano other person appears with a better right, he is entitled thereto. Article
Belen on May 2, 1902, without any succession, their two half-brothers, 448 of the same code provides:
the plaintiffs, surviving them, and as the said Marciana and Feliciano The possessor by virtue of ownership has in his favor the legal
died without any debt or obligation pending, leaving only the above- presumption that he holds possession by reason of a sufficient title
described lands, the plaintiffs did not petition for a letter of and he can not be forced to show it.
administration on the death of the latter, Feliciano Belen, but in 1902, In case No. 3819, entitled Sanchez Mellado vs. The Municipality of
in which year he died, the defendant Alejo Belen took possession of Tacloban (9 Phil. Rep., 92), this court held that —
the two said lands without any title or right thereto, and since that time In an action to recover possession of real estate under an alleged
he has retained and refused to return or deliver them to the plaintiffs in titled of ownership, the plaintiff must rely upon the strength of his
spite of the repeated demands made by the latter; furthermore, that he own title and not upon the weakness of that of the defendant, and
has failed to give them any portion of the fruits and profits of the said must establish his allegations by a preponderance of evidence.
lands, the value of which has amounted to P4,000 from that year up to Counsel for the plaintiffs did not satisfactorily prove his allegations, so
the date of the complaint, and has applied them to his own benefit; that the judge, after considering the evidence adduced by both parties,
wherefore they prayed that the court, after the corresponding found that the preponderance of the same was in favor of the
proceedings and trial, declare the plaintiffs to be the exclusive owners defendant, and this clearly appears from the case.
of the said lands, and sentence the defendant to return the same and It is an old and well-settled rule of the courts that the burden of proving
to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P4,000 and the costs of the trial. the action is upon the plaintiff, and that if he fails satisfactorily to show
The demurrer filed by the defendant was overruled, and Gerardo Belen the facts upon which he bases his claim, the defendant is under no
having been appointed guardian ad litem for the plaintiffs, the obligation to prove his exceptions. This rule is in harmony with the
defendant in his answer denied each and all of the facts alleged in the provisions of section 297 of the Code of Civil Procedure holding that
complaint in each and every one of its paragraphs, and alleged as a each party must prove his own affirmative allegations, etc.
special defense: That he was the owner of two parcels of land situated In view of the foregoing considerations and accepting those contained
in the sitio of Santa Maria Magdalena, of the pueblo of San Pablo, La in the judgment appealed from, with the rectification, however, that it
Laguna, and that he did not know whether they were the same as those shall be understood that the first parcel of land was sold by Roman
described in the complaint; that in case that they were the same as Rigleto to Valeria Alcantara, widow of Facundo Belen, instead of to
those claimed by the plaintiffs, then he alleged that said lands were his Juliana Fanoy, which is a material error noted in the first paragraph at
page 10 of the bill of exceptions, we are of opinion, and so hold, that destination as well as in avoiding harm to the life and limbs or risk
said judgment should be and is hereby affirmed, with the costs against against pedestrians so that they not be held liable;[7] and
the appellants. (3) [T]he buses of the defendant corporation, including its bus no. 033
were all properly maintainedbefore the buses left the garage for their
METRO MANILA TRANSIT CORPORATION vs. CA 141089 respective routes on that particular day, as in all other days, they were
On appeal is the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals promulgated on rigidly inspected and examined and properly certified as roadworthy.[8]
August 25, 1999 in CA-G.R. CV No. 45002, which affirmed in toto the The trial court found private respondents version more credible and on
judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 62, in Civil Case August 12, 1993, decided the case as follows:
No. 16062. The trial court found herein petitioners liable for the death WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in
of Florentina Sabalburo in a vehicular accident involving a passenger favor of the plaintiff and against defendants as follows:
bus owned by petitioner Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC) and 1. Ordering defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiff Martin
driven by petitioner Apolinario Ajoc, and ordered them to pay damages Sabalburo actual damages in the sum of P63,943.88 representing the
to private respondents. unpaid expenses of plaintiff in connection with the death of Florentina
The factual backdrop of this case, as found by the Court of Appeals, is Sabalburo;
as follows: 2. Ordering defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiffs the sum of
The eyewitness account of plaintiffs witness, Maria Zenaida Baylon, P180,000.00 for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased for a
tends to show that in the afternoon of December 24, 1986, she, her period of ten (10) years;
daughter Maria Zenia and the victim, Florentina Sabalburo, were on 3. Ordering defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiff Martin
their way to Baclaran to buy foodstuffs for their Noche Buena. For some Sabalburo the amount of P500,000.00 as moral damages;
time, they stood on the island at the intersection of St. Andrews 4. Ordering defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiff Martin
Street[2] and Domestic Road, [Pasay City] waiting for the traffic light to Sabalburo the sum of P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;
change so they could cross to the other side of St. Andrews Street 5. Ordering defendants [to] jointly and severally pay plaintiff Martin
where they intended to take a ride for Baclaran. When the traffic light Sabalburo the sum of P50,000.00 as attorneys fees;
turned red and the vehicles along St. Andrews Street had stopped, the 6. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiffs the costs
three of them stepped off the island. Just as they started to cross the of this suit.
street, she (Baylon) saw an MMTC bus coming from their right (Tramo) SO ORDERED.[9]
which was moving at a fast speed. The next moment, the left front Petitioners seasonably appealed to the Court of Appeals, which
portion of the bus hit the victim on the right side of her head. The impact docketed their appeal as CA-G.R. CV No. 45002. Before the appellate
was of such force that the victims right ear was slashed off and she court, petitioners insisted that the accident was solely the fault of the
thereupon fell on the cement and became unconscious. The victim was victim since she suddenly crossed a very busy street with complete
brought by the bus driver, Apolinario Ajoc and the bus conductress to disregard for her safety and in violation of traffic rules and regulations
the San Juan de Dios Hospital where she was given medical attention. designed to protect pedestrians.
Florentina Sabalburo never regained consciousness and it was on As earlier stated, the appellate court, in CA-G.R. CV No. 45002,
January 3, 1987 that she succumbed to her injuries.[3] affirmed the trial courts decision, thus:
On February 16, 1987, private respondents filed a complaint[4] for IN JUDGMENT, we hold that the appeal interposed by appellants is not
damages against MMTC and its driver, Ajoc, with the Regional Trial meritorious and the judgment of the lower court which we find to be in
Court of Makati. Docketed as Civil Case No. 16062, the complaint accordance with law and the evidence is therefore AFFIRMED in toto.
essentially alleged that Ajoc drove the MMTC bus in a wanton and Costs against appellants.
reckless manner, in gross violation of traffic rules and regulations, SO ORDERED.[10]
without due regard for the safety of others, thus causing the untimely Petitioners then moved for reconsideration, but the appellate court
death of the victim. denied their motion in its resolution of December 10, 1999.[11]
Petitioners denied the material allegations of the complaint, disclaimed Hence, the present petition.
any liability for the incident, and insisted that the accident was solely Petitioners submit as sole issue for our resolution the following:
due to the victims own negligence. The appellate court summed up WHETHER OR NOT ARTICLE 2179[12] AS AN EXCEPTION TO
their version of the incident as follows: ARTICLE 2176[13] OF THE CIVIL CODE IS APPLICABLE IN THE
xxx INSTANT CASE.
That at the time material to this case, bus no. 033, with defendant Ajoc Petitioners insist that a closer look at the facts established by the trial
driving, then bound towards the direction of Baclaran proper, was court would show that the incident happened at around 3:30 in the
slowly accelerating speed on the outer right lane of the road, in afternoon of December 24, 1986 or barely eight (8) hours before
response to the go signal of the traffic light situated in the intersection Christmas Eve. Thus, the victims thoughts were naturally directed
of Domestic Road [and Andrew Avenue], while the vehicles on the towards the Noche Buena. The victim then crossed busy Andrew
inner right lane which were going to turn left towards Domestic Road Avenue for the purpose of getting a ride to Baclaran to buy food for the
were at a stop position, the deceased FLORENTINA G. SABALBURO, Christmas Eve celebration. Since her thoughts were on the Christmas
whose stationary position was then covered from Ajocs peripheral Eve feast, she crossed where there was no pedestrian lane and while
vision by a big truck then bound to MIA Road [that] was at a stop the green light for vehicular traffic was on. Petitioner MMTC submits
position, suddenly, without regard to her own safety and in total that petitioner Ajoc cannot be charged with negligence considering that
defiance of traffic signs designed to protect pedestrian[s], suddenly he cannot see what is in the mind of a pedestrian. Considering that the
darted across the road; Ajoc, thus caught by surprise, tried to prevent victims own negligence was the direct and proximate cause of her
impact by releasing his accelerator pedal and applying his brakes but injuries and untimely demise, it was error for the Court of Appeals not
the time lag between the deceaseds negligent act and Ajocs prudent to have applied Article 2179 of the Civil Code to the instant case.
and diligent reaction to the former made the impact a certainty.[5] Petitioners claim that at the time of the incident, the victims mind was
As special and affirmative defenses, petitioners also claimed that: preoccupied with the preparations for the Noche Buena, is naught but
(1) MMTC hires its drivers, conductors and other employees only after pure conjecture and speculation, with nary a scintilla of proof to support
they have successfully passed rigid and extensive theoretical and it, according to respondents. Both the trial and appellate courts
practical examinations designed to determine their skills and established that the immediate and proximate cause of the victims
competenceand imposes upon its drivers the duty to undergo regular death was the negligent and careless driving by petitioner Ajoc.
seminars in defensive driving techniques and road safety habits;[6] Therefore, the full force of Article 2176 of the Civil Code applies,
(2) MMTC had taken every human care and foresight possible in concluded respondents.
carrying their passengers safely to their respective place (sic) of In asking us to apply Article 2179 of the Civil Code, we note that
petitioners are asking us to make a finding that the victims own
negligence was the direct and proximate cause of her death. This we guidelines and policies in hiring and supervision. Its failure to do so
cannot do. The issue of whether a person is negligent or not is a cannot but warrant the proper sanctions from this Court, considering
question of fact.[14] The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts,[15] that MMTC is a government-owned public utility organized for the
although it has the power and authority to review and reverse the public welfare. Having failed to rebut the presumption of negligence on
factual findings of lower courts where these do not conform to the its part, MMTC is primarily and directly liable for the damages caused
evidence[16] or where the courts below came up with contradictory by its employee, the erring driver, Ajoc, pursuant to Article 2180 of the
factual findings.[17] Civil Code, which provides as follows:
We have thoroughly perused the records of this case, and nowhere do ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not
we find evidence to support petitioners claim that the victim was so only for ones own acts or omissions-, but also for those of persons for
engrossed in thinking about Noche Buena while crossing a busy street. whom one is responsible.
Petitioners stance regarding the victims alleged negligence is non The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
sequitur. It simply does not follow that one who is run over by a vehicle responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
on Christmas Eve (or any other holiday for that matter) is negligent their company.
because his thoughts were on the holiday festivities. Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or
Instead, the records support private respondents claim that the MMTC incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live in their
bus was being driven carelessly. As found by the trial court and company.
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, the victim and her companions were The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are
standing on the island of Andrew Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the
change so they could cross. Upon seeing the red light, the victim and service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the
her companions started to cross. It was then when petitioner Ajoc, who occasion of their functions.
was trying to beat the red light, hit the victim. As the court a quo noted, Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees
Ajocs claim that he failed to see the victim and her companions proves and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks,
his recklessness and lack of caution in driving his vehicle.[18] Findings even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
of fact of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the Court of The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special
Appeals, are binding and conclusive on the Supreme Court.[19] More agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the official to
so, as in this case, where petitioners have not adequately shown that whom the task done properly pertains, in which case what is provided
the courts below overlooked or disregarded certain facts or in Article 2176 shall be applicable.
circumstances of such import as would have altered the outcome of the Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
case. Contrary to petitioners insistence, the applicable law in this case liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices,
is Article 2176 of the Civil Code and not Article 2179. so long as they remain in their custody.
Petitioner MMTC next contends that the Court of Appeals erred in The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
finding it solidarily liable for damages with its driver/employee, Ajoc, herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
pursuant to the relevant paragraphs of Article 2180[20] of the Civil father of a family to prevent damage.
Code. It argues that the act of Ajoc in bringing the victim to a hospital The owners of public utilities fall within the scope of this article.[25] As
reflects MMTCs diligence in the selection and supervision of its drivers, earlier stated, MMTC is a public utility, organized and owned by the
particularly with regard to safety measures. Hence, having exercised government for public transport service. Hence, its liability to private
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and respondents, for the negligent and reckless acts of its driver, Ajoc,
supervision of its employees to prevent damage, MMTC should not be under Article 2180 of the Civil Code is both manifest and clear.
held vicariously liable. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The assailed
It should be stressed, however, that whenever an employees decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45002 is
negligence causes damage or injury to another, there instantly arises AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
a presumption juris tantum that there was negligence on the part of the SO ORDERED.
employer, either in the selection of the employee (culpa in eligiendo)
or the supervision over him after the selection (culpa in vigilando).[21]
Hence, to escape solidary liability for a quasi-delict committed by his
employee, an employer must rebut the presumption by presenting
convincing proof that in the selection and supervision of his employee,
he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family.[22]
In the present case, petitioner MMTC failed to rebut the presumption
of negligence on its part.
The claim that Ajocs act of bringing the victim to the nearest medical
facility shows adequate supervision by MMTC over its employees
deserves but scant consideration. For one, the act was after the fact of
negligence on Ajocs part. For another, the evidence on record shows
that Ajocs act was neither voluntary nor spontaneous; he had to be
prevailed upon by the victims companions to render assistance to his
victim.[23] Moreover, the evidence to show that MMTC had exercised
due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees
consisted merely of the pertinent guidelines for the screening and
selection of its drivers, as well as periodic seminars on road safety. As
found by the trial court, and affirmed by the appellate court, petitioner
MMTC failed to show that its driver, Ajoc, had actually undergone such
screening or had attended said seminars. As previously held, [t]he
mere formulation of various company policies on safety without
showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt
(an employer) from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It
is incumbent upon petitioner to show that in recruiting and employing
the erring driver the recruitment procedures and company policies on
efficiency and safety were followed.[24] In this case, MMTC has made
no satisfactory showing that it had paid more than lip service to its