G.R. No. L-28028, 25 November 1927, 51 Phil 90
Plaintiff seeks to recover from defendant the alleged value of the four cases of merchandise which it delivered to the steamship ANDRES on October 23, 1922, at Manila, to be shipped to Surigao. Said shipment was never delivered to the consignee. The defendants rely only on clause 7 of the bill of lading whereby it was provided that action not brought within 610 days from the time the cause of action accrued still be barred, and on clause 12 which provided that the defendants are not liable for any package in excess of P300 unless the value and contracts of such package are correctly stated in the bill of lading at the time of the shipment. The goods in question were shipped from Manila on October 25, 1922, or a little less that 6 months after the shipment was made.
Whether or not the action was brought within a reasonable time.
The action was brought within a reasonable time as those words are specified and defined in the authorities sited. It is true that both the plaintiff and the defendants are residents of the City of Manila, but it is also true that Surigao where the goods in question were to be delivered is one of the most distant places from Manila in the Philippine Islands. In the very nature of things, plaintiff would not want to commence its action until such time as it had made a full and careful investigation of all of the material facts and even the law of the case, so as to determine whether or not defendants were liable for its loss.
Clause 12 places a limit of P300 for “any single package of silk.” The evidence of each case very near P2,500. In this situation, the limit of defendant’s liability for each package of silk for loss or damage from any cause of for any reason, would put it in the power of the defendant to have taken the whole cargo of 64 cases of silk at a valuation of P300 of each case, or less than 1/8 of its actual value. If that rule of law should be sustained, no silk would ever be shipped from one island to another in the Philippines. Such a limitation in value is valid as against public policy.
*Case digest by Margaret R. Manjaal, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019