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Villianueva vs Domingo

Facts:

[Respondent] Priscilla R. Domingo is the registered owner of a silver Mitsubishi


Lancer Car model 1980 bearing plate No. NDW 781 ’91 with [co-respondent]
Leandro Luis R. Domingo as authorized driver. [Petitioner] Nostradamus Villanueva
was then the registered "owner" of a green Mitsubishi Lancer bearing Plate No. PHK
201 ’91.

On 22 October 1991 at about 9:45 in the evening, following a green traffic light,
[respondent] Priscilla Domingo’s silver Lancer car with Plate No. NDW 781 ’91 then
driven by [co-respondent] Leandro Luis R. Domingo was cruising along the middle
lane of South Superhighway at moderate speed from north to south. Suddenly, a
green Mitsubishi Lancer with plate No. PHK 201 ’91 driven by Renato Dela Cruz
Ocfemia darted from Vito Cruz Street towards the South Superhighway directly into
the path of NDW 781 ’91 thereby hitting and bumping its left front portion. As a
result of the impact, NDW 781 ’91 hit two (2) parked vehicles at the roadside, the
second hitting another parked car in front of it.

Per Traffic Accident Report prepared by Traffic Investigator Pfc. Patrocinio N.


Acido, Renato dela Cruz Ocfemia was driving with expired license and positive for
alcoholic breath. Hence, Manila Assistant City Prosecutor Oscar A. Pascua
recommended the filing of information for reckless imprudence resulting to (sic)
damage to property and physical injuries.

The original complaint was amended twice: first, impleading Auto Palace Car
Exchange as commercial agent and/or buyer-seller and second, impleading Albert
Jaucian as principal defendant doing business under the name and style of Auto
Palace Car Exchange.

Except for Ocfemia, all the defendants filed separate answers to the complaint.
[Petitioner] Nostradamus Villanueva claimed that he was no longer the owner of the
car at the time of the mishap because it was swapped with a Pajero owned by Albert
Jaucian/Auto Palace Car Exchange. For her part, Linda Gonzales declared that her
presence at the scene of the accident was upon the request of the actual owner of the
Mitsubishi Lancer (PHK 201 ’91) [Albert Jaucian] for whom she had been working
as agent/seller. On the other hand, Auto Palace Car Exchange represented by Albert
Jaucian claimed that he was not the registered owner of the car. Moreover, it could
not be held subsidiary liable as employer of Ocfemia because the latter was off-duty
as utility employee at the time of the incident. Neither was Ocfemia performing a
duty related to his employment.3

After trial, the trial court found petitioner liable and ordered him to pay respondent
actual, moral and exemplary damages plus appearance and attorney’s fees:
The CA upheld the trial court’s decision but deleted the award for appearance and
attorney’s fees because the justification for the grant was not stated in the body of the
decision. Thus, this petition for review which raises a singular issue:

Issue: MAY THE REGISTERED OWNER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE BE HELD


LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM A VEHICULAR ACCIDENT
INVOLVING HIS MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE BEING OPERATED BY THE
EMPLOYEE OF ITS BUYER WITHOUT THE LATTER’S CONSENT AND
KNOWLEDGE?

Held:
Yes. We have consistently ruled that the registered owner of any vehicle is directly
and primarily responsible to the public and third persons while it is being operated.
Whether the driver is authorized or not by the actual owner is irrelevant to
determining the liability of the registered owner who the law holds primarily and directly
responsible for any accident, injury or death caused by the operation of the vehicle in the
streets and highways. To require the driver of the vehicle to be authorized by the actual
owner before the registered owner can be held accountable is to defeat the very purpose
why motor vehicle legislations are enacted in the first place.
The main purpose of vehicle registration is the easy identification of the owner who
can be held responsible for any accident, damage or injury caused by the vehicle. Easy
identification prevents inconvenience and prejudice to a third party injured by one who is
unknown or unidentified. To allow a registered owner to escape liability by claiming that
the driver was not authorized by the new (actual) owner results in the public detriment the
law seeks to avoid.

Duavit vs CA
Facts:
From the evidence adduced by the plaintiffs, consisting of the testimonies of
witnesses Virgilio Catuar, Antonio Sarmiento, Jr., Ruperto Catuar, Jr. and Norberto
Bernarte it appears that on July 28, 1971 plaintiffs Antonio Sarmiento, Sr. and Virgilio
Catuar were aboard a jeep with plate number 77-99-F-I Manila, 1971, owned by plaintiff,
Ruperto Catuar was driving the said jeep on Ortigas Avenue, San Juan, Rizal; that
plaintiff's jeep, at the time, was running moderately at 20 to 35 kilometers per hour and
while approaching Roosevelt Avenue, Virgilio Catuar slowed down; that suddenly,
another jeep with plate number 99-97-F-J Manila 1971 driven by defendant Oscar
Sabiniano hit and bumped plaintiff's jeep on the portion near the left rear wheel, and as a
result of the impact plaintiff's jeep fell on its right and skidded by about 30 yards; that as
a result plaintiffs jeep was damaged, particularly the windshield, the differential, the part
near the left rear wheel and the top cover of the jeep; that plaintiff Virgilio Catuar was
thrown to the middle of the road; his wrist was broken and he sustained contusions on the
head; that likewise plaintiff Antonio Sarmiento, Sr. was trapped inside the fallen jeep, and
one of his legs was fractured.
Evidence also shows that the plaintiff Virgilio Catuar spent a total of P2,464.00
for repairs of the jeep, as shown by the receipts of payment of labor and spare
parts (Exhs. H to H-7 Plaintiffs likewise tried to prove that plaintiff Virgilio
Catuar, immediately after the accident was taken to Immaculate Concepcion
Hospital, and then was transferred to the National Orthopedic Hospital; that
while plaintiff Catuar was not confined in the hospital, his wrist was in a plaster
cast for a period of one month, and the contusions on his head were under
treatment for about two (2) weeks; that for hospitalization, medicine and allied
expenses, plaintiff Catuar spent P5,000.00.

Evidence also shows that as a result of the incident, plaintiff Antonio Sarmiento,
Sr. sustained injuries on his leg; that at first, he was taken to the National
Orthopedic Hospital (Exh. K but later he was confined at the Makati Medical
Center from July 29, to August 29, 1971 and then from September 15 to 25,
1971; that his leg was in a plaster cast for a period of eight (8) months; and that
for hospitalization and medical attendance, plaintiff Antonio Sarmiento, Sr. spent
no less than P13,785.25 as evidenced by receipts in his possession. (Exhs. N to
N-1).

Proofs were adduced also to show that plaintiff Antonio sarmiento Sr. is
employed as Assistant Accountant of the Canlubang Sugar Estate with a salary
of P1,200.00 a month; that as sideline he also works as accountant of United
Haulers Inc. with a salary of P500.00 a month; and that as a result of this
incident, plaintiff Sarmiento was unable to perform his normal work for a period
of at least 8 months. On the other hand, evidence shows that the other plaintiff
Virgilio Catuar is a Chief Clerk in Canlubang Sugar Estate with a salary of
P500.00 a month, and as a result of the incident, he was incapacitated to work
for a period of one (1) month.

The plaintiffs have filed this case both against Oscar Sabiniano as driver, and
against Gualberto Duavit as owner of the jeep.

Defendant Gualberto Duavit, while admitting ownership of the other jeep (Plate
No. 99-07-F-J Manila, 1971), denied that the other defendant (Oscar Sabiniano)
was his employee. Duavit claimed that he has not been an employer of defendant
Oscar Sabiniano at any time up to the present.

On the other hand documentary and testimonial evidence show that defendant
Oscar Sabiniano was an employee of the Board of Liquidators from November
14, 1966 up to January 4, 1973 (Annex A of Answer).

Defendant Sabiniano, in his testimony, categorically admitted that he took the


jeep from the garage of defendant Duavit without the consent or authority of the
latter (TSN, September 7, 1978, p. 8). He testified further, that Duavit even filed
charges against him for theft of the jeep, but which Duavit did not push through
as his (Sabiniano's) parents apologized to Duavit on his behalf.
Defendant Oscar Sabiniano, on the other hand in an attempt to exculpate himself
from liability, makes it appear that he was taking all necessary precaution while
driving and the accident occurred due to the negligence of Virgilio Catuar.
Sabiniano claims that it was plaintiffs vehicle which hit and bumped their jeep.
(Reno, pp. 21-23)

The trial court found Oscar Sabiniano negligent in driving the vehicle but found no
employer-employee relationship between him and the petitioner because the latter was
then a government employee and he took the vehicle without the authority and consent of
the owner. The petitioner was, thus, absolved from liability under Article 2180 of the
Civil Code.

The private respondents appealed the case.

On January 7, 1988, the Court of Appeals rendered the questioned decision holding the
petitioner jointly and severally liable with Sabiniano.

Issue: whether or not the owner of a private vehicle which figured in an accident can be
held liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code when the said vehicle was neither driven
by an employee of the owner nor taken with the consent of the latter.

Held:
we have ruled that an owner of a vehicle cannot be held liable for an accident
involving the said vehicle if the same was driven without his consent or knowledge
and by a person not employed by him.
Herein petitioner does not deny ownership of the vehicle involved in tire mishap
but completely denies having employed the driver Sabiniano or even having
authorized the latter to drive his jeep. The jeep was virtually stolen from the
petitioner's garage. To hold, therefore, the petitioner liable for the accident caused
by the negligence of Sabiniano who was neither his driver nor employee would be
absurd as it would be like holding liable the owner of a stolen vehicle for an accident
caused by the person who stole such vehicle. In this regard, we cannot ignore the many
cases of vehicles forcibly taken from their owners at gunpoint or stolen from garages and
parking areas and the instances of service station attendants or mechanics of auto repair
shops using, without the owner's consent, vehicles entrusted to them for servicing or
repair.
in this case, the records of the petition fail to indicate the slightest indicia of an
employer-employee relationship between the owner and the erring driver or any consent
given by the owner for the vehicle's use, we cannot hold the owner liable.

Facts:
On July 17, 1994, a Fuso Road Tractor driven by Raul Tutor rammed into the house cum
store of Myrna Tamayo located at Pier 18, Vitas, Tondo, Manila. A portion of the house
was destroyed. Pinned to death under the engine of the tractor were Respondent Myrna
Tamayo’s son, Reniel Tamayo, and Respondent Felix Oledan’s daughter, Felmarie
Oledan. Injured were Respondent Oledan himself, Respondent Marissa Enano, and two
sons of Respondent Lucita Suyom.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

Tutor was charged with and later convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple
homicide and multiple physical injuries in Criminal Case No. 296094-SA, Metropolitan
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 12. 5

Upon verification with the Land Transportation Office, respondents were furnished a
copy of Official Receipt No. 62204139 6 and Certificate of Registration No. 08262797, 7
showing that the registered owner of the tractor was "Equitable Leasing
Corporation/leased to Edwin Lim." On April 15, 1995, respondents filed against Raul
Tutor, Ecatine Corporation ("Ecatine") and Equitable Leasing Corporation ("Equitable") a
Complaint 8 for damages docketed as Civil Case No. 95-73522 in the RTC of Manila,
Branch 14.

The trial court, upon motion of plaintiffs’ counsel, issued an Order dropping Raul Tutor,
Ecatine and Edwin Lim from the Complaint, because they could not be located and
served with summonses. 9 On the other hand, in its Answer with Counterclaim, 10
petitioner alleged that the vehicle had already been sold to Ecatine and that the former
was no longer in possession and control thereof at the time of the incident. It also claimed
that Tutor was an employee, not of Equitable, but of Ecatine.

After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its Decision ordering petitioner to pay actual
and moral damages and attorney’s fees to respondents. It held that since the Deed of Sale
between petitioner and Ecatine had not been registered with the Land Transportation
Office, (LTO), the legal owner was still Equitable. 11 Thus, petitioner was liable to
respondents.

Issue:

Held:
We hold petitioner liable for the deaths and the injuries complained of, because it was the
registered owner of the tractor at the time of the accident on July 17, 1994. 38 The Court
has consistently ruled that, regardless of sales made of a motor vehicle, the registered
owner is the lawful operator insofar as the public and third persons are concerned;
consequently, it is directly and primarily responsible for the consequences of its operation
39 In contemplation of law, the owner/operator of record is the employer of the driver, the
actual operator and employer being considered as merely its agent. 40 The same principle
applies even if the registered owner of any vehicle does not use it for public service

Loadmasters vs glodel

Facts:
On August 28, 2001, R&B Insurance issued Marine Policy No. MN-00105/2001 in favor
of Columbia to insure the shipment of 132 bundles of electric copper cathodes against All
Risks. On August 28, 2001, the cargoes were shipped on board the vessel "Richard Rey"
from Isabela, Leyte, to Pier 10, North Harbor, Manila. They arrived on the same date.

Columbia engaged the services of Glodel for the release and withdrawal of the cargoes
from the pier and the subsequent delivery to its warehouses/plants. Glodel, in turn,
engaged the services of Loadmasters for the use of its delivery trucks to transport the
cargoes to Columbia’s warehouses/plants in Bulacan and Valenzuela City.

The goods were loaded on board twelve (12) trucks owned by Loadmasters, driven by its
employed drivers and accompanied by its employed truck helpers. Six (6) truckloads of
copper cathodes were to be delivered to Balagtas, Bulacan, while the other six (6)
truckloads were destined for Lawang Bato, Valenzuela City. The cargoes in six truckloads
for Lawang Bato were duly delivered in Columbia’s warehouses there. Of the six (6)
trucks en route to Balagtas, Bulacan, however, only five (5) reached the destination. One
(1) truck, loaded with 11 bundles or 232 pieces of copper cathodes, failed to deliver its
cargo.

Later on, the said truck, an Isuzu with Plate No. NSD-117, was recovered but without the
copper cathodes. Because of this incident, Columbia filed with R&B Insurance a claim
for insurance indemnity in the amount of ₱1,903,335.39. After the requisite investigation
and adjustment, R&B Insurance paid Columbia the amount of ₱1,896,789.62 as insurance
indemnity.

R&B Insurance, thereafter, filed a complaint for damages against both Loadmasters and
Glodel before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Manila (RTC), docketed as Civil Case
No. 02-103040. It sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid to Columbia for the
loss of the subject cargo. It claimed that it had been subrogated "to the right of the
consignee to recover from the party/parties who may be held legally liable for the loss."2

On November 19, 2003, the RTC rendered a decision3 holding Glodel liable for damages
for the loss of the subject cargo and dismissing Loadmasters’ counterclaim for damages
and attorney’s fees against R&B Insurance.

Issue:

ISSUE:
Whether or not Loadmasters and Glodel are liable for the loss of the subject cargo.
RULING:

The petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Judgment is rendered declaring petitioner


Loadmasters Customs Services, Inc. and respondent Glodel Brokerage Corporation
jointly and severally liable to respondent

Under Article 1732 of the Civil Code, common carriers are persons, corporations, firms,
or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passenger or goods, or
both by land, water or air for compensation, offering their services to the public.
Loadmasters is a common carrier because it is engaged in the business of transporting
goods by land, through its trucking service. It is a common carrier as distinguished from a
private carrier wherein the carriage is generally undertaken by special agreement and it
does not hold itself out to carry goods for the general public. Glodel is also considered a
common carrier within the context of Article 1732. For as stated and well provided in the
case of Schmitz Transport & Brokerage Corporation v. Transport Venture, Inc., a customs
broker is also regarded as a common carrier, the transportation of goods being an integral
part of its business.

Loadmasters and Glodel, being both common carriers, are mandated from the
nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, to observe the
extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods transported by them
according to all the circumstances of such case, as required by Article 1733 of the
Civil Code. When the Court speaks of extraordinary diligence, it is that extreme
measure of care and caution which persons of unusual prudence and circumspection
observe for securing and preserving their own property or rights. With respect to
the time frame of this extraordinary responsibility, the Civil Code provides that the
exercise of extraordinary diligence lasts from the time the goods are unconditionally
placed in the possession of, and received by, the carrier for transportation until the
same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee, or to
the person who has a right to receive them.

The Court is of the view that both Loadmasters and Glodel are jointly and severally liable
to R & B Insurance for the loss of the subject cargo. Loadmasters’ claim that it was never
privy to the contract entered into by Glodel with the consignee Columbia or R&B
Insurance as subrogee, is not a valid defense.

For under ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for
one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household
helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not
engaged in any business or industry.

It is not disputed that the subject cargo was lost while in the custody of Loadmasters
whose employees (truck driver and helper) were instrumental in the hijacking or robbery
of the shipment. As employer, Loadmasters should be made answerable for the damages
caused by its employees who acted within the scope of their assigned task of delivering
the goods safely to the warehouse.

Glodel is also liable because of its failure to exercise extraordinary diligence. It failed to
ensure that Loadmasters would fully comply with the undertaking to safely transport the
subject cargo to the designated destination. Glodel should, therefore, be held liable with
Loadmasters. Its defense of force majeure is unavailing.
For the consequence, Glodel has no one to blame but itself. The Court cannot come to its
aid on equitable grounds. "Equity, which has been aptly described as ‘a justice outside
legality,’ is applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial
rules of procedure." The Court cannot be a lawyer and take the cudgels for a party who
has been at fault or negligent.

Macam vs CA

Facts: Benito Macam, doing business under name Ben-MacEnterprises, shipped on board
vessel Nen-Jiang, owned and operated by respondent China Ocean Shipping Co. through
local agent Wallem Philippines Shipping Inc., 3,500 boxes of watermelon covered by Bill
of Lading No. HKG 99012, and 1,611 boxes of fresh mangoes covered by Bill of Lading
No. HKG 99013. The shipment was bound for Hongkong with PAKISTAN BANK as
consignee and Great Prospect Company of Rowloon (GPC) as notify party.

Upon arrival in Hongkong, shipment was delivered by respondent WALLEM directly to


GPC, not to PAKISTAN BANK and without the required bill of lading having been
surrendered. Subsequently, GPC failed to pay PAKISTAN BANK, such that the latter,
still in possession of original bill of lading, refused to pay petitioner thru SOLIDBANK.
Since SOLIDBANK already pre-paid the value of shipment, it demanded payment from
respondent WALLEM but was refused. MACAM constrained to return the amount paid
by SOLIDBANK and demanded payment from WALLEM but to no avail.

WALLEM submitted in evidence a telex dated 5 April 1989 as basis for delivering the
cargoes to GPC without the bills of lading and bank guarantee. The telex instructed
delivery of various shipments to the respective consignees without need of presenting the
bill of lading and bank guarantee per the respective shipper’s request since “for prepaid
shipt ofrt charges already fully paid.” MACAM, however, argued that, assuming there
was such an instruction, the consignee referred to was PAKISTAN BANK and not GPC.

The RTC ruled for MACAM and ordered value of shipment. CA reversed RTC’s
decision.

Issue: Are the respondents liable to the petitioner for releasing the goods to GPC without
the bills of lading or bank guarantee?:

Held:

We emphasize that the extraordinary responsibility of the common carriers lasts until
actual or constructive delivery of the cargoes to the consignee or to the person who has a
right to receive them. PAKISTAN BANK was indicated in the bills of lading as consignee
whereas GPC was the notify party. However, in the export invoices GPC was clearly
named as buyer/importer. Petitioner also referred to GPC as such in his demand letter to
respondent WALLEM and in his complaint before the trial court. This premise draws us
to conclude that the delivery of the cargoes to GPC as buyer/importer which,
conformably with Art. 1736 had, other than the consignee, the right to receive them 14 was
proper.

Transimex vs mafre

Facts:

On 21 May 1996, M/V Meryem Ana received a shipment consisting of 21,857 metric tons
of Prilled Urea Fertilizer from Helm Duengemittel GMBH at Odessa, Ukraine. 8 The
shipment was covered by two separate bills of lading and consigned to Fertiphil for
delivery to two ports - one in Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union; and the other in
Tabaco, Albay.9 Fertiphil insured the cargo against all risks under Marine Risk Note Nos.
MN-MAR-HO-0001341 and MN-MAR-HO-0001347 issued by
respondent.10chanrobleslaw

On 20 June 1996, M/V Meryem Ana arrived at Poro Point, La Union, and discharged
14,339.507 metric tons of fertilizer under the first bill of lading.11 The ship sailed on to
Tabaco, Albay, to unload the remainder of the cargo. The fertilizer unloaded at Albay
appeared to have a gross weight of 7,700 metric tons. 12 The present controversy involves
only this second delivery.

As soon as the vessel docked at the Tabaco port, the fertilizer was bagged and stored
inside a warehouse by employees of the consignee. 13 When the cargo was subsequently
weighed, it was discovered that only 7,350.35 metric tons of fertilizer had been
delivered.14 Because of the alleged shortage of 349.65 metric tons, Fertiphil filed a claim
with respondent for P1,617,527.37,15 which was found compensable.16chanrobleslaw

After paying the claim of Fertiphil, respondent demanded reimbursement from petitioner
on the basis of the right of subrogation. The claim was denied, prompting respondent to
file a Complaint with the RTC for recovery of sum of money. 17 In support of its claim,
respondent presented a Report of Survey18 and a Certification19 from David Cargo Survey
Services to prove the shortage. In addition, respondent submitted an Adjustment Report 20
prepared by Adjustment Standards Corporation (ASC) to establish the outturn quantity
and condition of the fertilizer discharged from the vessel at the Tabaco port. 21 In the
report, the adjuster also stated that the shortage was attributable to the melting of the
fertilizer while inside the hatches, when the vessel took on water because of the bad
weather experienced at sea.22 Two witnesses were then presented by respondent to
buttress its documentary evidence.23chanrobleslaw

Petitioner, on the other hand, denied that there was loss or damage to the cargo. 24 It
submitted survey certificates and presented the testimony of a marine surveyor to prove
that there was, in fact, an excess of 3.340 metric tons of fertilizer delivered to the
consignee.25cralawred Petitioner also alleged that defendants had exercised extraordinary
diligence in the transport and handling of the cargo.
Issue:

Whether petitioner is liable for the loss or damage sustained by the cargo because of bad
weather

Held:

We emphasize that common carriers are automatically presumed to have been at fault or
to have acted negligently if the goods they were transporting were lost, destroyed or
damaged while in transit.This presumption can only be rebutted by proof that the carrier
exercised extraordinary diligence and caution to ensure the protection of the shipment in
the event of foul weather.

In the instant case, there is absolutely no evidence that petitioner satisfied the two
requisites. Before the trial court, petitioner limited itself to the defense of denial. The
latter refused to admit that the shipment sustained any loss or damage and even alleged
overage of the cargo delivered.67 As a result, the evidence it submitted was severely
limited, i.e., the testimony of a witness that supposedly confirmed the alleged excess in
the quantity of the fertilizer delivered to the consignee in Albay. 68 No other evidence was
presented to demonstrate either the proximate and exclusive cause of the loss or the
extraordinary diligence of the carrier.

Under these circumstances, the Court cannot absolve petitioner from liability for the
shortage incurred by the shipment.

Unsworth vs CA

Held:

A freight forwarder’s liability is limited to damages arising from its own negligence,
including negligence in choosing the carrier; however, where the forwarder contracts to
deliver goods to their destination instead of merely arranging for their transportation, it
becomes liable as a common carrier for loss or damage to goods. A freight forwarder
assumes the responsibility of a carrier, which actually executes the transport, even though
the forwarder does not carry the merchandise itself

Belgian vs philippine first

Facts:

"On June 13, 1990, CMC Trading A.G. shipped on board the M/V 'Anangel Sky' at
Hamburg, Germany 242 coils of various Prime Cold Rolled Steel sheets for
transportation to Manila consigned to the Philippine Steel Trading Corporation. On July
28, 1990, M/V Anangel Sky arrived at the port of Manila and, within the subsequent
days, discharged the subject cargo. Four (4) coils were found to be in bad order B.O.
Tally sheet No. 154974. Finding the four (4) coils in their damaged state to be unfit for
the intended purpose, the consignee Philippine Steel Trading Corporation declared the
same as total loss.1âwphi1.nêt

"Despite receipt of a formal demand, defendants-appellees refused to submit to the


consignee's claim. Consequently, plaintiff-appellant paid the consignee five hundred six
thousand eighty six & 50/100 pesos (P506,086.50), and was subrogated to the latter's
rights and causes of action against defendants-appellees. Subsequently, plaintiff-appellant
instituted this complaint for recovery of the amount paid by them, to the consignee as
insured.

"Impugning the propriety of the suit against them, defendants-appellees imputed that the
damage and/or loss was due to pre-shipment damage, to the inherent nature, vice or
defect of the goods, or to perils, danger and accidents of the sea, or to insufficiency of
packing thereof, or to the act or omission of the shipper of the goods or their
representatives. In addition thereto, defendants-appellees argued that their liability, if
there be any, should not exceed the limitations of liability provided for in the bill of
lading and other pertinent laws. Finally, defendants-appellees averred that, in any event,
they exercised due diligence and foresight required by law to prevent any damage/loss to
said shipment.

Issue:

Whether petitioners have overcome the presumption of negligence of a common carrier

Held:

No.

Well-settled is the rule that common carriers, from the nature of their business and for
reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence and vigilance with
respect to the safety of the goods and the passengers they transport.13 Thus, common
carriers are required to render service with the greatest skill and foresight and "to use all
reason[a]ble means to ascertain the nature and characteristics of the goods tendered for
shipment, and to exercise due care in the handling and stowage, including such methods
as their nature requires."14 The extraordinary responsibility lasts from the time the goods
are unconditionally placed in the possession of and received for transportation by the
carrier until they are delivered, actually or constructively, to the consignee or to the
person who has a right to receive them.

That petitioners failed to rebut the prima facie presumption of negligence is revealed in
the case at bar by a review of the records and more so by the evidence adduced by
respondent.