Commercial Law,  Legally Yours

Merhcan v. Mendoza

Commercial Law. Transportation. Actions for Damages.
Merhcan v. Mendoza
G.R. No. L-24471, August 30, 1968
Fernando, J.

FACTS:
Respondents Arsenio Mendoza, Leonarda Ilaya and Zenaida Mendoza boarded a bus owned and operated by Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines driven by Silverio Marchan. While traveling on its way to Manila, it fell into a ditch causing the passengers inside the bus to be thrown out to the ground resulting in their multiple injuries. Thereafter, Marchan was convicted for serious, less serious and slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence.

As such, respondents filed to recover damages from herein petitioners. Petitioners, on the other hand, contends there is can be no implied contract of carriage between them and the passengers, hence, there can be no basis for the recovery of damages from breach of contract.

ISSUE:
Whether or not there is a contract of carriage between the bus company and the passengers and consequently, whether or not Article 1759 is applicable in the present case.

HELD:
YES, there is a contract of carriage between the parties and Article 1759 is applicable in the case at bar. Respondents were waiting for a passenger bus and the moment they boarded the bus being driven by Marchan, they were treated as passengers thereto, for they paid their corresponding fees. The riding public is not expected to inquire from time to time before they board the passenger bus whether or not the driver who is at the steering wheel of said bus was authorized to drive said vehicle or that said driver is acting within the scope of his authority and observing the existing rules and regulations required of him by the management.

Common carriers cannot escape liability “for the death of or injuries to passengers through the negligence and willful acts of the former’s employees, although such employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of orders”. Clearly, the applicability of Article 1759 is indisputable.

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