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R Transport Corp. vs.

Eduardo Pante 599 SCRA 747 (2009)


FACTS:
R Transport operates a bus line which transports passengers from
Cubao, Quezon City to Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
27 January 1995: Pante rode a bus from Cubao (P48 fare). Along a
highway in Bulacan, the bus hit a tree and a house due to the
reckless driving of Johnny Mediquia.
Pante sustained a laceration frontal area, with fracture of the right
humerous1.
o His operation, confinement, and medications caused him
P30K. He became unemployed as Goldilocks refused to
re-employ him due to his condition.
o He had to undergo a second operation after four years. He
spent another P15k.
o The only assistance petitioner gave was the amount of
P7K to reimburse him for the stainless steel plate placed
in his arm. Other than that, petitioner refused to assist
Pante.
14 March 1995: Pante sued for damages.
Petitioner in its answer denied fault claiming that it exercised the
diligence of a good father of the family in the selection and
supervision of employees, and that the accident was force majeure.
The case went on for 7 years. The delays were due to the multiple
postponements and unexplained absence of petitioners counsel. Its
rights to cross-examine and present evidence were eventually
forfeited as a consequence.
RTC ruled in favour of Pante. CA affirmed RTCs decision.
ISSUE:
W/N Petitioner is liable for damages despite Pante not presenting
substantial evidence to support his claim.
HELD:
YES. Petitioner is liable for damages.

1 The bone that extends from shoulder to elbow.

Petitioner, as a common carrier, is expected to exercise


extraordinary diligence, and has the duty to transport its passengers
safely to their destination.
ARTICLE 1756 OF THE CIVIL CODE: In case of death or
injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed at fault or
negligent unless they are able to prove their exercise of
extraordinary diligence.
ARTICLE 1759: Common carriers are also liable for the
negligence of their employees.
o The liability of common carriers does not cease upon
proof that they exercised extraordinary diligence of a
good father of the family in the selection and supervision
of employees.
Petitioner cannot claim that it was denied due process which
prevented it from presenting evidence in his defense. Due to the
unexplained absences of his counsel, the hearings had to be
constantly postponed, which resulted in a 7-year delay of the case.
It was given the opportunity to present its evidence, but was
considered to have waived its right.
Petitioner also contends that the CA and TC erred in awarding
damages in favour of Pante in the amount of P22,000 based on a
statement issued by the Baliuag Hospital and not based on the
receipt. The Court held that this was without merit since in another
case, the Court awarded damages for hospitalization expenses
based on the statement of account issued by the Makati Medical
Center.
The Court also affirmed the award of moral damages, citing
Spouses Ong vs. CA where moral damages were given to
passengers who suffered physical injuries. It is the usual practice to
award moral damages for physical injuries sustained. Pante here
suffered physical pain, mental anguish and anxiety as a result of
the accident. P50,000 is proper.
An award of exemplary damages is also proper, as the driver was
manning the bus in a reckless, negligent, and imprudent manner.
This will provide as an example or as a correction for the public
good.

PETITION IS DENIED.