G.R. No. 108253, February 23, 1994
Petitioner Geraldez filed an action for damages by reason of contractual breach against respondent Kenstar Travel Corp. Petitioner booked the Volare 3 tour with Kenstar. The tour covered a 22-day tour of Europe for $2,990.00 which she paid the total equivalent amount of P190,000.00 charged by private respondent for her and her sister, Dolores. At the tour, petitioner claimed that what was alleged in the brochure was not what they experienced. There was no European tour manager as stated in the brochure, the hotels where they stayed in which were advertised as first class were not, the UGC leather factory which was specifically included as a highlight of the tour was not visited and The Filipino tour guide provided by Kenstar was a first timer thus inexperienced. The Quezon City RTC rendered a decision ordering respondent Kenstar to pay moral, nominal, and exemplary damages totalling P1,000,000 and P50,000 attorney’s fees. On appeal, respondent Court of Appeals deleted the award for moral and exemplary damages and reduced the nominal damages and attorney’s fees to P30,000 and P10,000 respectively.
Whether or not Kenstar acted in bad faith or with gross negligence in discharging its obligations in the contract?
Yes. Kenstar acted in bad faith and with gross negligence in discharging its obligation. When they authorized an inexperienced and a first timer to be a tour escort, private respondent manifested its indifference to the convenience, satisfaction and peace of mind of its clients during the trip despite its express commitment to provide such facilities under the Volare 3 Tour Program which had the grandiose slogan “Let your heart sing”. This incompetence must necessarily be traced to the lack of due diligence on the part of private respondent in the selection of its employees. It is true that among the thirty-two destinations, which included twenty-three cities and special visits to nine tourist spots, this was the only place that was not visited. Clearly, therefore, private respondent’s choice of Zapanta as the tour guide is a manifest disregard of its specific assurances to the tour group, resulting in agitation and anxiety on their part, and which deliberate omission is contrary to the elementary rules of good faith and fair play. It is extremely doubtful if any group of Filipino tourists would knowingly agree to be used in effect as guinea pigs in an employees’ training program of a travel agency, to be conducted in unfamiliar European countries with their diverse cultures, lifestyles and languages.
In either case, whether private respondent has committed dolo causante or dolo incidente by making misrepresentations in its contracts with petitioner and other members of the tour group, which deceptions became patent in the light of after-events when, contrary to its representations, it employed an inexperienced tour guide, housed the tourist group in substandard hotels, and reneged on its promise of a European tour manager and the visit to the leather factory, it is indubitably liable for damages to petitioner. The effects of dolo causante are the nullity of the contract and the indemnification of damages, 63 and dolo incidente also obliges the person employing it to pay damages. Wherefore, ordering private respondent Kenstar Travel Corporation to pay petitioner Lydia L. Geraldez the sums of P100,000.00 by way of moral damages, P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P20,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees, with costs against private respondent.
* Case digest by Neah Hope Bato, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018