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Unformatted text preview: TORTS & DAMAGES CASE DIGESTS
Atty. Jerick Sta. Barbara Syllabus [Aly Notes] TISON vs. SPS. POMASIN
G.R. No. 173180; August 24, 2011
PET: ALBERT TISON and CLAUDIO L. JABON
RES: SPS. GREGORIO POMASIN and CONSORCIA PONCE-POMASIN
Two vehicles, a tractor-trailer and a jitney, figured in a vehicular mishap along Maharlika Highway in Barangay
Agos, Polangui, Albay last 12 August 1994. Laarni Pomasin (Laarni) was driving the jitney towards the
direction of Legaspi City while the tractor-trailer, driven by Claudio Jabon (Jabon), was traversing the
opposite lane going towards Naga City.
Gregorio Pomasin (Gregorio), Laarni’s father, was on board the jitney and seated on the passengers side. He
testified that while the jitney was passing through a curve going downward, he saw a tractor-trailer coming from
the opposite direction and encroaching on the jitneys lane. The jitney was hit by the tractor-trailer and it was
dragged further causing death and injuries to its passengers. On the other hand, Jabon recounted that while he
was driving the tractor-trailer, he noticed a jitney on the opposite lane falling off the shoulder of the road.
Thereafter, it began running in a zigzag manner and heading towards the direction of the truck. To avoid
collision, Jabon immediately swerved the tractor-trailer to the right where it hit a tree and sacks of palay.
Multiple death and injuries to those in the jitney resulted. Gregorio was injured and brought to the Albay
Provincial Hospital in Legaspi City. His daughter and sister died on the spot. His other daughter Laarni, the
jitney driver, and 1 granddaughter expired at the hospital. His wife, and another granddaughter as well as several
others sustained injuries. Jabon and one of the passengers in the tractor-trailer were injured.
(Tison), the owner of the truck, extended financial assistance to respondents by giving them P1,000.00 each
immediately after the accident and P200,000.00 to Cynthia Pomasin (Cynthia), one of Gregorios daughters.
Cynthia, in turn, executed an Affidavit of Desistance. respondents filed a complaint for damages against
petitioners before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo. They alleged that the proximate cause of the
accident was the negligence, imprudence and carelessness of petitioners. Respondents prayed for
indemnification for the heirs:
those who perished in the accident, in each
hospitalization, medical and burial expenses
continuous hospitalization and medical expenses of Spouses
loss of income of Cynthia
attorney’s fees, plus P1,000.00 per court appearance
litigation expenses; and cost of suit P50,000.00
P50,000.00 In their Answer, petitioners countered that it was Laarnis negligence which proximately caused the accident.
They further claimed that Cynthia was authorized by Spouses Pomasin to enter into an amicable settlement by
executing an Affidavit of Desistance. Notwithstanding the affidavit, petitioners complained that respondents
filed the instant complaint to harass them and profit from the recklessness of Laarni. Petitioners counterclaimed
RTC: rendered judgment in favor of petitioners dismissing the complaint for damages. The trial court
considered the testimony of Jabon regarding the incident more convincing and reliable than that of Gregorios,
a mere passenger, whose observation and attention to the road is not as focused as that of the driver. The trial
court concluded that Laarni caused the collision of the jitney and the tractor-trailer. The trial court likewise
upheld the Affidavit of Desistance 1 |AL Y C A B S CA: disagreed with the trial court and ruled that the reckless driving of Jabon caused the vehicular collision. In
support of such finding, the Court of Appeals relied heavily on Gregorios testimony that Jabon was driving the
tractor-trailer downward too fast and it encroached the lane of the jitney. Based on the gravity of the impact and
the damage caused to the jitney resulting in the death of some passengers, the Court of Appeals inferred that
Jabon must be speeding. The appellate court noted that the restriction in Jabon’s driver’s license was violated,
thus, giving rise to the presumption that he was negligent at the time of the accident. MR denied.
ISSUE: The petition for review raises mixed questions of fact and law which lead back to the very issue litigated
by the trial court: Who is the negligent party or the party at fault?
RULING: We give weight to this findings of the trial court greater than the opposite conclusion reached by
the appellate court. The trial court expounded, thus:
In the appreciation of the testimony of eye-witnesses, one overriding consideration is their
opportunity for observation in getting to know or actually seeing or observing the matter they
testify to. This most particularly holds true in vehicular collision or accident cases which oftentimes
happen merely momentarily or in the split of a second. In the case of a running or travelling vehicle,
especially in highway travel which doubtless involves faster speed than in ordinary roads, the driver
is concentrated on his driving continuously from moment to moment even in long trips. While in
the case of a mere passenger, he does not have to direct his attention to the safe conduct of the
travelling vehicle, as in fact he may converse with other passengers and pay no attention to the
driving or safe conduct of the travelling vehicle, as he may even doze off to sleep if he wants to,
rendering his opportunity for observation on the precise cause of the accident or collision or
immediately preceding thereto not as much as that of the driver whose attention is continuously
focused on his driving. While it is logical that a drivers attention to the road travelled is keener than that of a mere passenger, it should
also be considered that the logic will hold only if the two are similarly circumstanced, and only as a general
rule, so that, it does not necessarily follow that between the opposing testimonies of a driver and a passenger,
the former is more credible.
Contrary to the observation of the Court of Appeals, the relative positions of a driver and a passenger in a vehicle
was not the only basis of analysis of the trial court. Notably, aside from Jabons alleged vantage point to clearly
observe the incident, the trial court also took into consideration Gregorios admission that prior to the accident,
the jitney was running on the curving and downward portion of the highway. The appellate court, however, took
into account the other and opposite testimony of Gregorio that it was their jitney that was going uphill and when
it was about to reach a curve, he saw the incoming truck running very fast and encroaching the jitneys lane. We
perused the transcript of stenographic notes and found that the truck was actually ascending the highway when
it collided with the descending jitney. The declaration of Jabon with respect to the road condition was
straightforward and consistent. The recollection of Gregorio veered from curving and downward to uphill. On
this point, Jabon and his testimony is more credible.
There was no showing that the tractor-trailer was speeding. There is a preponderance of evidence that the tractortrailer was in fact ascending. Clearly, the negligence of Gregorios daughter, Laarni was the proximate cause of
Although at the time of the incident, Jabon was prohibited from driving the truck due to the restriction imposed
on his driver’s license. The CA concluded therefrom that Jabon was violating a traffic regulation at the time of
the collision. Driving without a proper license is a violation of traffic regulation. Under Article 2185 of the Civil
Code, the legal presumption of negligence arises if at the time of the mishap, a person was violating any traffic
regulation. However, in Sanitary Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we held that a causal connection
must exist between the injury received and the violation of the traffic regulation. It must be proven that the
violation of the traffic regulation was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that it substantially contributed
thereto. Negligence, consisting in whole or in part, of violation of law, like any other negligence, is without
legal consequence unless it is a contributing cause of the injury. 2 |AL Y C A B S Likewise controlling is our ruling in Aonuevo v. Court of Appeals where we reiterated that negligence per se,
arising from the mere violation of a traffic statute, need not be sufficient in itself in establishing liability for
damages. The rule on negligence per se must admit qualifications that may arise from the logical consequences
of the facts leading to the mishap. The doctrine (and Article 2185, for that matter) is undeniably useful as a
judicial guide in adjudging liability, for it seeks to impute culpability arising from the failure of the actor to
perform up to a standard established by a legal fiat. But the doctrine should not be rendered inflexible so as to
deny relief when in fact there is no causal relation between the statutory violation and the injury sustained.
Presumptions in law, while convenient, are not intractable so as to forbid rebuttal rooted in fact.
In the instant case, no causal connection was established between the tractor-trailer driver’s restrictions on his
license to the vehicular collision. Furthermore, Jabon was able to sufficiently explain that the Land
Transportation Office merely erred in not including restriction code 8 in his license. WHEREFORE, the
petition is GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. 3 |AL Y C A B S NORMAN GAID vs. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 171636; April 7, 2009
Norman A. Gaid was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. At around 12:00
noon on 25 October 2001, petitioner was driving his passenger jeepney along a two-lane road where the
Laguindingan National High School is located toward the direction of Moog in Misamis Oriental. His jeepney
was filled to seating capacity. At the time several students were coming out of the school premises. Meanwhile,
a fourteen year-old student, Michael Dayata (Dayata), was seen by eyewitness Artman Bongolto (Bongolto)
sitting near a store on the left side of the road. From where he was at the left side of the road, Dayata raised his
left hand to flag down petitioner’s jeepney. However, neither did petitioner nor the conductor, Dennis Mellalos
(Mellalos), saw anybody flagging down the jeepney to ride at that point.
The next thing Bongalto saw, Dayatas feet was pinned to the rear wheel of the jeepney, after which, he laid flat
on the ground behind the jeepney. Another prosecution witness, Usaffe Actub (Actub), who was also situated
on the left side of the street but directly in front of the school gate, heard a strong impact coming from the jeep
sounding as if the driver forced to accelerate in order to hurdle an obstacle. Mellalos heard a shout that a boy
was run over, prompting him to jump off the jeepney to help the victim. Petitioner stopped and saw Mellalos
carrying the body of the victim.
Mellalos loaded the victim on a motorcycle and brought him to the hospital. Dayata was first brought to the
Laguindingan Health Center, but it was closed. Mellalos then proceeded to the El Salvador Hospital. Upon
advice of its doctors, however, Dayata was brought to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center where he was
pronounced dead on arrival. Dr. Tammy Uy issued an autopsy report stating cranio-cerebral injuries as the cause
of death. She testified that the head injuries of Dayata could have been caused by having run over by the jeepney.
The Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Laguindingan found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime charged. The lower court held petitioner negligent in his driving considering that the victim was
dragged to a distance of 5.70 meters from the point of impact. He was also scored for not stopping his vehicle
after noticing that the jeepneys left rear tire jolted causing the vehicle to tilt towards the right. On appeal, the
RTC affirmed in toto. The CA affirmed the trial courts judgment with modification in that it found petitioner
guilty only of simple negligence resulting in homicide. CA exonerated petitioner from the charge of reckless
imprudence resulting to homicide on the ground that he was not driving recklessly at the time of the accident.
However, the appellate court still found him to be negligent when he failed to promptly stop his vehicle to check
what caused the sudden jotting of its rear tire. MR denied.
Petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that there is (sic) absolutely lack of precaution on
the part of the petitioner when he continued even after he had noticed that the left rear tire and the jeep tilted to
its right side. Petitioner stressed that he, in fact, stopped his jeep when its left rear tire bounced and upon hearing
that somebody had been ran over. Petitioner asserts that the CA committed a grave abuse of discretion in
convicting him of the offense of simple negligence resulting in homicide. Assuming arguendo that he failed to
promptly stop his vehicle, petitioner maintains that no prudent man placed in the same situation could have
foreseen the vehicular accident or could have stopped his vehicle in time when its left rear tire bounced due to
the following reasons: (1) the victim was only a trespasser; (2) petitioners attention was focused on the road and
the students outside the schools gate; and (3) the jeepney was fully loaded with passengers and cargoes and it
was impossible for the petitioner to promptly stop his vehicle. OSG maintained that petitioner was negligent
when he continued to run towards the direction of Moog, Laguindingan, dragging the victim a few meters from
the point of impact, despite hearing that a child had been run over
ISSUE: WON petitioner was negligent?
RULING: Petitioner must be acquitted at least on reasonable doubt. The award of damages must also be deleted
pursuant to Article 2179 of the Civil Code which states that when the plaintiffs own negligence was the
immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages.
1ST STAGE: began when Dayata flagged down the jeepney while positioned on the left side of the road and
ended when he was run over by the jeepney
4 |AL Y C A B S 2nd STAGE: covered the span between the moment immediately after the victim was run over and the point
when petitioner put the jeepney to a halt
Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from which material
damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to
perform such act. In the instant case, petitioner was driving slowly at the time of the accident, as testified to by
two eyewitnesses. Petitioner stated that he was driving at no more than 15 kilometers per hour. It appears from
the evidence Dayata came from the left side of the street. Petitioner, who was driving the jeepney on the right
lane, did not see the victim flag him down. He also failed to see him go near the jeepney at the left side.
Understandably, petitioner was focused on the road ahead. In Dayatas haste to board the jeep which was then
running, his feet somehow got pinned to the left rear tire, as narrated by Bongolto. Actub only saw Dayata after
he heard a strong impact coming from the jeep.
With the foregoing facts, petitioner cannot be held liable during the first stage. Specifically, he cannot be held
liable for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, as found by the trial court. The proximate cause of the
accident and the death of the victim was definitely his own negligence in trying to catch up with the moving
jeepney to get a ride. Petitioner had exercised extreme precaution as he drove slowly upon reaching the vicinity
of the school. He cannot be faulted for not having seen the victim who came from behind on the left side.
However, the CA found petitioner guilty of simple negligence resulting in homicide for failing to stop driving
at the time when he noticed the bouncing of his vehicle. Verily, the appellate court was referring to the second
stage of the incident. Negligence has been defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests
of another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand,
whereby such other person suffers injury. The elements of simple negligence: are (1) that there is lack of
precaution on the part of the offender; and (2) that the damage impending to be caused is not immediate or the
danger is not clearly manifest
The standard test in determining whether a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage
results to the person or property of another is this: could a prudent man, in the position of the person to
whom negligence is attributed, foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the
course actually pursued? If so, the law imposes a duty on the actor to refrain from that course or to take
precautions to guard against its mischievous results, and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. Reasonable
foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the admonition born of this provision, is always necessary before
negligence can be held to exist.
In this case, the courts below zeroed in on the fact that petitioner did not stop the jeepney when he felt the
bouncing of his vehicle, a circumstance which the appellate court equates with negligence. Assuming arguendo
that petitioner had been negligent, it must be shown that his negligence was the proximate cause of the accident.
Proximate cause is defined as that which, in the natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient,
intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred In order to
establish a motorist's liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it must be shown that there was a direct
causal connection between such negligence and the injuries or damages complained of. Thus, negligence that is
not a substantial contributing factor in the causation of the accident is not the proximate cause of an injury
Clearly then, the prosecution was not able to establish that the proximate cause of the victims death was
petitioners alleged negligence, if at all, even during the second stage of the incident. Petitioner Norman A. Gaid
is ACQUITTED of the crime of Simple Negligence Resulting in Homicide as found by the Court of Appeals
and of the charge of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide 5 |AL Y C A B S ST. LUKE'S COLLEGE OF MEDICINE vs, SPOUSES PEREZ & SPOUSES QUINTOS
G.R. No. 222740, September 28, 2016
PET: ST. LUKE'S COLLEGE OF MEDICINE-WILLIAM H. QUASHA MEMORIAL
FOUNDATION; DR. BRIGIDO L. CARANDANG; and DR. ALEJANDRO P. ORTIGAS
RES: SPOUSES MANUEL & ESMERALDA PEREZ and SPOUSES ERIC & JURISITA QUINTOS
In February 2010, St. Luke's sent four (4) of its 4th year medical students to the clinic, namely: plaintiffsappellants Spouses Perez's daughter Jessa, plaintiffs-appellants Spouses Quintos' daughter Cecille, Jerillie Ann
Murillo (Murillo) and Miguel Rafael Ramos (Ramos). They were tasked to complete a four-week clerkship
rotation at the clinic and like the previous batches, they were housed in the second floor of the clinic.
According to Ramos, he and his groupmates reported for duty at the Cabiao clinic at approximately 10 o'clock
in the morning of February 8, 2010. When their shift ended at 5 o'clock that afternoon, the group went for a jog
and returned to the clinic at around 7 o'clock in the evening. They again went out at 9 o'clock in the evening to
buy beverages, cooking oil and other items needed for their breakfast the next day and went to sleep some...
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