Monday, March 14, 2011


G.R. No. L-57079 September 29, 1989

A jeep driven by private respondent Esteban fell into an open trench, the excavation was due to the installation of an underground conduit system by PLDT, the said open trench was without cover and any warning signs.

As a result the private respondent and his wife sustained injuries, and their vehicle was also damaged.

PLDT in its defense, imputes the injuries to the private respondents own negligence. Also, it alleges that L.R. Barte and company acting as an independent contractor, should be responsible for the excavation was performed by them.

As for Barte, they alleged that they have complied with the due standards in performing their work, and that it was not aware of the accident involving the Estebans.

Court of Appeals held that respondent Esteban spouses were negligent and consequently absolved petitioner PLDT from the claim for damages.

Upon respondent’s second motion to reconsideration, CA reversed its decision, following he decision of Trial Court and held PLDT liable for damages.

Whether or not PLDT is liable



We find no error in the findings of the respondent court in its original decision that the accident which befell private respondents was due to the lack of diligence of respondent Antonio Esteban and was not imputable to negligent omission on the part of petitioner PLDT.

The presence of warning signs could not have completely prevented the accident; the only purpose of said signs was to inform and warn the public of the presence of excavations on the site. The private respondents already knew of the presence of said excavations. It was not the lack of knowledge of these excavations which caused the jeep of respondents to fall into the excavation but the unexplained sudden swerving of the jeep from the inside lane towards the accident mound. As opined in some quarters, the omission to perform a duty, such as the placing of warning signs on the site of the excavation, constitutes the proximate cause only when the doing of the said omitted act would have prevented the injury. It is basic that private respondents cannot charge PLDT for their injuries where their own failure to exercise due and reasonable care was the cause thereof. It is both a societal norm and necessity that one should exercise a reasonable degree of caution for his own protection. Furthermore, respondent Antonio Esteban had the last clear chance or opportunity to avoid the accident, notwithstanding the negligence he imputes to petitioner PLDT. As a resident of Lacson Street, he passed on that street almost everyday and had knowledge of the presence and location of the excavations there. It was his negligence that exposed him and his wife to danger, hence he is solely responsible for the consequences of his imprudence.

A person claiming damages for the negligence of another has the burden of proving the existence of such fault or negligence causative thereof. The facts constitutive of negligence must be affirmatively established by competent evidence. Whosoever relies on negligence for his cause of action has the burden in the first instance of proving the existence of the same if contested, otherwise his action must fail.


G.R. No. 79578 March 13, 1991

Spouses Timan through RCPI sent a telegram, in order to express their condolences for the death of the mother-in-law of their cousins Mr. and Mrs. Midoranda. The telegram, however, was written in a “Happy Birthday” card and inserted in a “Christmasgram” envelope.

The spouses Timan, filed an action against RCPI in order to claim damages for the ridicule, contempt and humiliation that the latter caused to the private respondents.

RCPI in its defense alleges that the "error" in the social form used does not come within the ambit of fraud, malice or bad faith as understood/defined under the law.

Court rendered a decision in favor of Spouses Timan.

Whether or not RCPI should be held liable


We fully agree with the appellate court's endorsement of the trial court's conclusion that RCPI, a corporation dealing in telecommunications and offering its services to the public, is engaged in a business affected with public interest. As such, it is bound to exercise that degree of diligence expected of it in the performance of its obligation.

In the present case, it is self-evident that a telegram of condolence is intended and meant to convey a message of sorrow and sympathy. Precisely, it is denominated "telegram of condolence" because it tenders sympathy and offers to share another's grief. It seems out of this world, therefore, to place that message of condolence in a birthday card and deliver the same in a Christmas envelope for such acts of carelessness and incompetence not only render violence to good taste and common sense, they depict a bizarre presentation of the sender's feelings. They ridicule the deceased's loved ones and destroy the atmosphere of grief and respect for the departed.

Monday, February 21, 2011


G.R. No. 89880 February 6, 1991


A collision between a gravel and sand truck, driven by Montesiano and owned by Del Pilar and a Mazda passenger bus, driven by Susulin, took place in Tanza, Cavite. Due to the impact several passengers of the bus were injured some died.

The driver of the bus noticed that the wheels of the said truck was wiggling and that the latter was occupying his lane. In thinking that the driver of the truck was only joking, he accelerated and tried to overtake a hand tractor, the collision took place.

Trial Court rendered the decision that both drivers shall be soidarily liable.

CA, reversed and set a side the judgment in favor of Del Pilar and Montesiano, opined that "the bus driver had the last clear chance to avoid the collision and his reckless negligence in proceeding to overtake the hand tractor was the proximate cause of the collision."


Whether or not the doctrine of last clear chance can be applied in the present case.


The respondent court adopted the doctrine of "last clear chance." The doctrine, stated broadly, is that the negligence of the plaintiff does not preclude a recovery for the negligence of the defendant where it appears that the defendant, by exercising reasonable care and prudence, might have avoided injurious consequences to the plaintiff notwithstanding the plaintiff's negligence. In other words, the doctrine of last clear chance means that even though a person's own acts may have placed him in a position of peril, and an injury results, the injured person is entitled to recovery. As the doctrine is usually stated, a person who has the last clear chance or opportunity of avoiding an accident, notwithstanding the negligent acts of his opponent or that of a third person imputed to the opponent is considered in law solely responsible for the consequences of the accident.

In the recent case of Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al. (G.R. Nos. 66102-04, August 30, 1990), the Court citing the landmark decision held in the case of Anuran, et al. v. Buno, et al. (123 Phil. 1073) ruled that the principle of "last clear chance" applies "in a suit between the owners and drivers of colliding vehicles. It does not arise where a passenger demands responsibility from the carrier to enforce its contractual obligations. For it would be inequitable to exempt the negligent driver of the jeepney and its owners on the ground that the other driver was likewise guilty of negligence."


G.R. No. 129792. December 21, 1999


When respondent Criselda was signing her credit card slip at payment and verification counter in Syvels Department Store in Makati, she felt a sudden gust of wind a heard a loud sound. She looked behind her and saw her daughter Zhieneth (6 years old) on the floor pinned by the bulk of the stores gift-wrapping counter.

She was rushed to the hospital but died after 14 days.

Private respondents filed a complaint for damages.

Petitioners on the other hand, denied any liability imputing the negligence to Criselda for allowing her daughter to roam freely in the department store. Alleging further, that the deceased committed contributory negligence when she climbed the counter. Also herein petitioners defense is that they have exercised due diligence of a good father of a family in the selection, supervision and control of their employees.

Trial Court favored petitioners, contemplating that Zhieneth’s action is the proximate cause of the accident.

CA favored respondents on it declared that ZHIENETH, who was below seven (7) years old at the time of the incident, was absolutely incapable of negligence or other tort. It reasoned that since a child under nine (9) years could not be held liable even for an intentional wrong, then the six-year old ZHIENETH could not be made to account for a mere mischief or reckless act. It also absolved CRISELDA of any negligence, finding nothing wrong or out of the ordinary in momentarily allowing ZHIENETH to walk while she signed the document at the nearby counter.

(1) Whether or not Zhieneth was guilty of contributory negligence.

(2) Whether or not the death of ZHIENETH was accidental or attributable to negligence.


Anent the negligence imputed to ZHIENETH, we apply the conclusive presumption that favors children below nine (9) years old in that they are incapable of contributory negligence

In our jurisdiction, a person under nine years of age is conclusively presumed to have acted without discernment, and is, on that account, exempt from criminal liability. The same presumption and a like exemption from criminal liability obtains in a case of a person over nine and under fifteen years of age, unless it is shown that he has acted with discernment.


An accident pertains to an unforeseen event in which no fault or negligence attaches to the defendant

negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.

We rule that the tragedy which befell ZHIENETH was no accident and that ZHIENETHs death could only be attributed to negligence.

Part of res gestae. Statements made by a person while a startling occurrence is taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances thereof, may be given in evidence as part of the res gestae. So, also, statements accompanying an equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received as part of the res gestae.

CHINA AIR LINES, LTD., petitioner, 

G.R. No. 45985 May 18, 1990


Jose Pagsibagan, General Manager of Rentokil (Phil.) Inc. purchased an airline ticket for Manila-Taipei-Hong Kong-Manila with Philippine Airlines which at that time was a sales and ticketing agent of China Air Lines.

His plane ticket indicated that he is booked on CAL CI Flight No. 812 to depart from Manila for Taipei on June 10, 1968 at 17:20 hours (5:20 p.m.) as issued by PAL, through its ticketing clerk defendant Roberto Espiritu.

One hour before his flight, Pagsibagan was informed that Flight No. 812 bound to Taipei had already left at 10:20. PAL employees made appropriate arrangements for the former to take the next flight to Taipei the following day, to which he arrived around noontime.

Jose Pagsibagan filed a complaint for damages, alleging further the negligence of Roberto Espiritu.

PAL on its defense alleges that its ticketing office through Roberto Espiritu asked for confirmation from CAL before issuing the ticket to Mr. Pagsibagan, which CAL confirmed.

Defendant China Air Lines, for its part, disclaims liability for the negligence and incompetence of the employees of PAL. Moreover, CAL avers that it had properly notified PAL of the flight schedule.

Trial Court ruled that PAL and its employee shall indemnify Pagsibagan. However, the complaint is dismissed with respect to CAL.

Whether or not CAL shall be rendered liable.



There is indeed no basis whatsoever to hold CAL liable on a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. As hereinbefore stated, the court a quo absolved CAL of any liability for fault or negligence. This finding was shared by respondent court when it concluded that defendant CAL did not contribute to the negligence committed by therein defendants-appellants PAL and Roberto Espiritu.

Respondent Pagsibigan insists that CAL was barred from proving that it observed due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. This argument is obviously misplaced. CAL is not the employer of PAL or Espiritu. In Duavit vs. The Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., 11 we have stressed the need of first establishing the existence of an employer-employee relationship before an employer may be vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
When an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the employer either in the selection of the employee or in the supervision over him after such selection. The presumption, however, may be rebutted by a clear showing on the part of the employer that it has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee.


G.R. No. 106063 November 21, 1996


Carmelo entered into a contract with respondent for the latter to lease A PORTION OF THE SECOND FLOOR of the two-storey building, situated at C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, with a floor area of 1,610 square meters and THE SECOND FLOOR AND MEZZANINE of the two-storey building, situated at C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, with a floor area of 150 square meters.

The contract is set for the next 20 years.

2 years later, the parties entered into yet another contract involving; A PORTION OF THE SECOND FLOOR of the two-storey building, situated at C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, with a floor area of 1,610 square meters and THE SECOND FLOOR AND MEZZANINE of the two-storey building, situated at C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, with a floor area of 150 square meters.

Stipulated in the contract was; That if the LESSOR should desire to sell the leased premises, the LESSEE shall be given 30-days exclusive option to purchase the same.

In the event, however, that the leased premises is sold to someone other than the LESSEE, the LESSOR is bound and obligated, as it hereby binds and obligates itself, to stipulate in the Deed of Sale hereof that the purchaser shall recognize this lease and be bound by all the terms and conditions thereof.

Sometime in 1974, Carmelo through Mr. Pascal by a telephone call told the respondent that it is contemplating to sell the said property and that a certain Jose Araneta is willing to buy the same for US$1,200,000. It also asked the respondent if it’s willing to the property for six to seven million pesos. Respondent through Mr. Yang told the petitioner that it would respond once a decision was made.

Respondent in its reply mentioned a stipulated part of the contract as to when Carmelo would decide to sell the property. Carmelo did not reply.

Four years later, on July 30, 1978, Carmelo sold its entire C.M. Recto Avenue land and building, which included the leased premises housing the "Maxim" and "Miramar" theatres, to Equatorial by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale, for the total sum of P11,300,000.00.

Mayfair instituted the action a quo for specific performance and annulment of the sale of the leased premises to Equatorial.

Carmelo’s defense; as special and affirmative defense (a) that it had informed Mayfair of its desire to sell the entire C.M. Recto Avenue property and offered the same to Mayfair, but the latter answered that it was interested only in buying the areas under lease, which was impossible since the property was not a condominium; and (b) that the option to purchase invoked by Mayfair is null and void for lack of consideration.

Equitorial’s allegation; that the option is void for lack of consideration (sic) and is unenforceable by reason of its impossibility of performance because the leased premises could not be sold separately from the other portions of the land and building. It counterclaimed for cancellation of the contracts of lease, and for increase of rentals in view of alleged supervening extraordinary devaluation of the currency. Equatorial likewise cross-claimed against co-defendant Carmelo for indemnification in respect of Mayfair's claims.

Trial Court rendered decision in favor of Carmelo and Equitorial.



We agree with the respondent Court of Appeals that the aforecited contractual stipulation provides for a right of first refusal in favor of Mayfair. It is not an option clause or an option contract. It is a contract of a right of first refusal.

In his Law Dictionary, edition of 1897, Bouvier defines an option as a contract, in the following language:
A contract by virtue of which A, in consideration of the payment of a certain sum to B, acquires the privilege of buying from, or selling to B, certain securities or properties within a limited time at a specified price.

The rule so early established in this jurisdiction is that the deed of option or the option clause in a contract, in order to be valid and enforceable, must, among other things, indicate the definite price at which the person granting the option, is willing to sell


G.R. No. 109125 December 2, 1994


A Second Amended Complaint for Specific Performance was filed by herein petitioners against Bobby Cu Unjieng, Rose Cu Unjieng and Jose Tan who are tenants of the former.

In 1986 herein petitioners expressed that they are offering to sell the premises and are giving the tenants priority to acquire the same.

The tenants offered a price of 6 million and a counter of 5 million pesos and asked the petitioners to put the said offer in writing and to specify the terms and conditions of the offer to sell. The petitioner, however failed to send a reply to the tenants to which the latter were compelled to file the complaint to compel defendants to sell the property to them.

Ang Yu, et al. denied the material allegations of the complaint and interposed a special defense of lack of cause of action.

Trial Court rendered a decision in favor of herein petitioner; offer to sell was never accepted by the plaintiffs for the reason that the parties did not agree upon the terms and conditions of the proposed sale, hence, there was no contract of sale at all.

Court of Appeals affirmed the decision; In resume, there was no meeting of the minds between the parties concerning the sale of the property.

While the case was pending in court, Cu Unjieng (tenants) executed a Deed of Safe in favor of BUEN REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.

Whether or not there is a contract between parties?

Until the contract is perfected, it cannot, as an independent source of obligation, serve as a binding juridical relation. In sales, particularly, to which the topic for discussion about the case at bench belongs, the contract is perfected when a person, called the seller, obligates himself, for a price certain, to deliver and to transfer ownership of a thing or right to another, called the buyer, over which the latter agrees.

Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.

A contract of sale may be absolute or conditional.

A negotiation is formally initiated by an offer. An imperfect promise (policitacion) is merely an offer. Public advertisements or solicitations and the like are ordinarily construed as mere invitations to make offers or only as proposals. These relations, until a contract is perfected, are not considered binding commitments. Thus, at any time prior to the perfection of the contract, either negotiating party may stop the negotiation. The offer, at this stage, may be withdrawn; the withdrawal is effective immediately after its manifestation, such as by its mailing and not necessarily when the offeree learns of the withdrawal (Laudico vs. Arias, 43 Phil. 270).

Where a period is given to the offeree within which to accept the offer, the following rules generally govern:

(1) If the period is not itself founded upon or supported by a consideration, the offeror is still free and has the right to withdraw the offer before its acceptance, or, if an acceptance has been made, before the offeror's coming to know of such fact, by communicating that withdrawal to the offeree (see Art. 1324, Civil Code; see also Atkins, Kroll & Co. vs. Cua, 102 Phil. 948, holding that this rule is applicable to a unilateral promise to sell under Art. 1479, modifying the previous decision in South Western Sugar vs. Atlantic Gulf, 97 Phil. 249; see also Art. 1319, Civil Code; Rural Bank of ParaƱaque, Inc., vs. Remolado, 135 SCRA 409; Sanchez vs. Rigos, 45 SCRA 368). The right to withdraw, however, must not be exercised whimsically or arbitrarily; otherwise, it could give rise to a damage claim under Article 19 of the Civil Code which ordains that "every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."

(2)  If the period has a separate consideration, a contract of "option" is deemed perfected, and it would be a breach of that contract to withdraw the offer during the agreed period. The option, however, is an independent contract by itself, and it is to be distinguished from the projected main agreement (subject matter of the option) which is obviously yet to be concluded. If, in fact, the optioner-offeror withdraws the offer before its acceptance (exercise of the option) by the optionee-offeree, the latter may not sue for specific performance on the proposed contract ("object" of the option) since it has failed to reach its own stage of perfection. The optioner-offeror, however, renders himself liable for damages for breach of the option. In these cases, care should be taken of the real nature of the consideration given, for if, in fact, it has been intended to be part of the consideration for the main contract with a right of withdrawal on the part of the optionee, the main contract could be deemed perfected; a similar instance would be an "earnest money" in a contract of sale that can evidence its perfection (Art. 1482, Civil Code).

In the law on sales, the so-called "right of first refusal" is an innovative juridical relation. Needless to point out, it cannot be deemed a perfected contract of sale under Article 1458 of the Civil Code. Neither can the right of first refusal, understood in its normal concept, per se be brought within the purview of an option under the second paragraph of Article 1479, aforequoted, or possibly of an offer under Article 1319 of the same Code.