G.R. No. L-48757, 30 May 1988, 161 SCRA 646


Private respondent Tumambing contracted the services of petitioner Ganzon to haul 305 tons of scrap iron from Bataan to the port of Manila on board the lighter LCT “Batman.” Petitioner sent his lighter with its Captain Filomeno to dock at Mariveles, where respondent Tumambing delivered the scrap irons for loading which also begun on the same day. Mayor Advincula arrived at the port and demanded P 5,000 shakedown from respondent. The two ended up in a heated argument where respondent had to be taken to a hospital to be treated of a gunshot wound. After sometime, the loading of the scrap iron was resumed.
But now, the Acting Mayor together with 3 policemen ordered Captain Filomeno to dump the scrap iron where the lighter was docked and the rest to be brought to NASSCO compound. Later, the Acting Mayor issued a receipt stating that the Municipality had taken custody of the scrap iron. Respondent instituted an action for damages against petitioner. Respondent Court found in favor for Tumambing.


Whether or not petitioner Ganzon, a common carrier, can be exempt from liability by invoking order of competent authority.


No. The petitioner has failed to show that the loss of the scraps was due to any of the following causes enumerated in Article 1734 of the Civil Code.

Before the appellee Ganzon could be absolved from responsibility on the ground that he was ordered by competent public authority to unload the scrap iron, it must be shown that Acting Mayor Basilio Rub had the power to issue the disputed order, or that it was lawful, or that it was issued under legal process of authority. The appellee failed to establish this. Indeed, no authority or power of the acting mayor to issue such an order was given in evidence. Neither has it been shown that the cargo of scrap iron belonged to the Municipality of Mariveles.

The fact remains that the order given by the acting mayor to dump the scrap iron into the sea was part of the pressure applied by Mayor Jose Advincula to shakedown the appellant for P5,000.00. The order of the acting mayor did not constitute valid authority for appellee Mauro Ganzon and his representatives to carry out. The petitioner was not duty bound to obey the illegal order to dump into the sea the scrap iron.

*Case digest by Princess Dianne Kris S. Decierdo, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019